It is believed that healthy, energetic and fresh young minds will build a healthy nation for tomorrow.
Keeping this into concern, children of today’s age need more priority regarding health and nutrition. Since the mid-90s to the present, Child malnutrition has significantly declined but chronic malnutrition is still high in developing countries, like Bangladesh.with 36% of children being affected worldwide. While in Bangladesh, FAO estimates 15.1% of people are chronically undernourished, or 24.4 million people still go to sleep without fulfilling their nutrition requirements every night.
Bangladesh has to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030 where without confirming the safe and nutritive food for each citizen could make this mission impossible. However, Bangladesh has achieved remarkable progress in ensuring food and nutrition security over the past decades. Yet nutrition remains on the top of development agenda as a key to achieving Zero Hunger.
To boost up this action, Nutrition Olympiad-2018 has been celebrated on 21st April at “hall of fame” of Bangabandhu International Convention Centre (BICC), Agargaon, Dhaka. This year the theme was “Youth empowerment and nutrition for a healthy nation”. The core event was organized by Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development (BIID) and the Meeting the Under-nutrition Challenge MUCH project, implemented by FAO in collaboration with Food Planning and Monitoring Unit (FPMU), Ministry of Food. The entire event was sponsored by USAID and EU. SUCHANA, financially supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the EU, Global Improved Alliance for Nutrition (GAIN) and other organizations joined the event as strategic partners.
This year, Nutrition Olympiad has been hosted with an objective to build a national platform for youth and other relevant stakeholders for knowledge sharing and to demonstrate the potentials of youth in nutrition activities towards improving diets and addressing malnutrition.
As a youth networking platform, YPARD Bangladesh has joined in the event as one of the partners in the Asia region. A total of 940 people including over 600 youth and adolescents, as well as government officials and representatives from international and national organizations, civil society, the private sector, academia, and media, participated to make this event a successful one. More than 17 nutrition clubs form different educational institutions and non-government organizations demonstrated their project-based knowledge and progress regarding food and nutrition. They tried to uphold their knowledge in improving dietary habits and food pattern of our people while addressing malnutrition in Bangladesh.
YPARD Bangladesh is an international youth networking organization towards motivating and connecting youth around the globe to make them avail better opportunity form agricultural sector. YPARD members, namely, Abdul Awal Chowdhury Masud, Md Alimul Raji and Soulin Akiv have exhibited two theme posters in their pavilion entitled, “Food waste” and “Indigenous crops of Bangladesh” to link with the theme of Nutrition Olympiad-2018.
They raise awareness on how food wastes create a huge loss in agricultural inputs that can provide foods for millions and also and improve knowledge to the visitors on the nutritional values of indigenous crops, vegetables and fruits of Bangladesh. Throughout the event, these members communicated with the visitors and informed about the worldwide agriculture prospect and opportunity for youth.
This one-day event included a variety of youth engaging activities like street play, food design competition, cooking competition, case study competitions, open internet challenge and much more exciting game for the participants. Participation during the online discussion remotely by YPARD Nepal team, led by Abhishek Khadak, Country Representative of YPARD Nepal, was an enjoyable part of the day and it tied stronger regional cooperation in youth engagement and knowledge sharing.
In addition, the Olympiad served as a platform to represent youth opinions relating to the national policy development process and implementation. In the inauguration ceremony Chief Technical Advisor, FAO, Naoki Minamiguchi said “Despite the critical successes, only 1 out of 4 young children receive minimum acceptable diets. The child stunting level is still high when compared with the WHO threshold, and there is a need to accelerate the decline to 25% by 2020 in line with the World Health Assembly and national targets”.
Meanwhile, in the closing ceremony Honourable State Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, Member of ParlamentParliament, was present as chief guests and to handover, the winners crest with huge appreciations. In different sessions, esteemed experts and practitioners from diversified fields were joined and served as judges, chairpersons and panelists to listen to the youth experiences and expectations and to discuss and recommend their active and unique roles in combating malnutrition. This year the “Bangladesh agricultural University Nutrition Club” won in highest three competition categories and was awarded as the best nutrition club of the year.
In recent years, Bangladesh is continuously portraying excellence in all its development sectors. To continue this trend of gradual development there is no alternative to build a healthy nation with a balanced and nutritive diet where building awareness and making structural change is our way of life could make it immensely happen within soonest possible time. In achieving such national goals, a platform like YPARD Bangladesh has a higher ambition to participate in youth empowerment in agriculture for better and healthier Bangladesh.
Picture credit: Masud Chowdhury