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AfriCAN launches initiative to empower youths

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By Aminata Kuyateh

In a groundbreaking effort to combat malnutrition and promote healthy living among young people, Africa Catalysing Action for Nutrition (AfriCAN) in Partnership with the National Nutrition Agency(NaNA) earlier launched  the “Good Nutrition Starts with Me” youth initiative in The Gambia.

This youth-centric program aims to empower the younger generation with the knowledge and tools necessary to make informed dietary choices, fostering a culture of health and wellness from an early age.

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Also, the initiative is a collaborative effort involving AfriCAN and NaNA, these stakeholders have joined forces to address the pressing issue of malnutrition, which continues to affect a significant portion of the Gambian population, particularly children and adolescents.

At the heart of the “Good Nutrition Starts with Me” initiative are educational workshops designed to engage and inform young people about the importance of good nutrition. These workshops were held in NaNA covering a wide range of topics including: basic nutrition, healthy eating habits and food safety to mention a few.

The workshops are complemented by a series of educational materials, including booklets, posters, and an engaging social media campaign aimed at reaching a broader audience.

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A key component of the initiative is the establishment of a network of Youth Ambassadors for Nutrition. These ambassadors, selected from various schools and communities, serve as role models and peer educators.

They are trained to deliver nutrition messages and encourage their peers to adopt healthier eating habits. By leveraging the influence of these young leaders, the initiative aims to create a ripple effect, spreading the message of good nutrition throughout the youth population.

According to the organisers, community involvement is crucial to the success of the “Good Nutrition Starts with Me” initiative while parents, teachers, and community leaders are encouraged to participate in the program’s activities and support the youth in their quest for better nutrition.

Workshops for parents and caregivers are also organised to ensure that they understand the importance of providing balanced meals at home and setting a positive example for their children.

While the “Good Nutrition Starts with Me” initiative is still in its early stages, the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. Participants have expressed enthusiasm about the knowledge they have gained and the practical skills they have acquired. As the program continues to expand, it is expected to make a significant impact on the health and well-being of Gambian youth.

By fostering a culture of good nutrition, the organisers added, this initiative not only aims to improve the immediate health of young people but also to instill lifelong habits that will benefit them and the future generations. The initiative is a shining example of how collaborative efforts can lead to meaningful change, empowering the youth to take charge of their health and build a brighter, healthier future for The Gambia.

“As the initiative progresses, continued support from all sectors of society is essential. Whether through volunteering, funding, or simply spreading the word about the importance of good nutrition, everyone can play a part in this vital movement. Together, we can ensure that every young person in The Gambia has the opportunity to lead a healthy and fulfilling life, the organisers concluded.

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