THE Rural Enterprise Trust of Zimbabwe (RETZ) has embarked on a project aimed at promoting nutrition consciousness amongst young people in Bindura District.
By Michael Gwarisa recently in Bindura
The project dubbed Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator is funded by the Gates Foundation and supported by CIVICUS. It will be implemented in the 15 out of the 21 wards in the district.
Briefing a stakeholders meeting in Bindura, RTZ Consultant Mr Cathbert Mukora said the project will empower young people with information around the subject of nutrition.
Our purpose is to increase youth participation towards attainment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Number 2 and our specific focus is to improve nutrition awareness not only for the young peo9lle but for the whole community.
“Youths are greatly affected by the problem of malnutrition and it is unfortunate that they are left out in most nutrition related interventions. The thrust of the project is to give youths a voice for them to take an active role in order for them to fight food insecurity and malnutrition,” said Mukora.
He added that the project will also train young people from the 15 wards to be Nutrition Citizen Journalists for the purposes of communicating nutrition challenges and successes the communities will be experiencing.
“Child malnutrition is widespread across Zimbabwe and little attention is given towards allocating more financial resources to fight undernourishment.
“Despite being the major victims of malnutrition, children and grassroots communities do not have platforms to raise their voices on the need to increase nutrition financing and improve community-based nutrition service delivery.”
However, the inadequacy of food and nutrition information to guide the design of relevant nutrition interventions, assessment of progress made by on-going nutrition initiatives, and to ensure improved nutrition service management and coordination amongst local communities, provides an opportunity for children, youths, and grassroots communities to participate in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets, particularly SDG 2 which seeks to end hunger and malnutrition.
“We therefore intend to establish local Food and Nutrition Information Systems for Zimbabwe to help in nutrition service management and coordination, and for community social accountability and monitoring, which could help to address malnutrition,” added Mukora.
Under the project, Children and youth will be empowered to become local citizen journalists who write community stories on local community food and nutrition issues, malnutrition, contribute stories on local citizen feedback on nutrition services rendered, and also to monitor community nutrition service delivery, amongst other aspects.
“We will develop tools and manuals for trainings on agriculture, food and nutrition story writing/telling. Stories will then be incorporated into policy development processes and on nutrition advocacy to improve on national resource allocation towards nutrition.
“The major primary indicator for this initiative is therefore Indicator 2.2.2: Prevalence of malnutrition among children.”