Skotisma Zazavavy Malagasy in Madagascar is one of four WAGGGS Membership organisations that take part in the Girl Powered Nutrition programme aiming to reduce the disproportionate impact of malnutrition in girls and young women in the country. One part of the programme allocates funds to certain areas, for the girls leading the National Campaign to complete advocacy-based activities.
On March 18th 2020, there was a lot of excitement within Skotisma Zazavavy Malagasy. Around 50 Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, Advocacy Champions, Guiding leaders and commissioners and trainers came from different regions to gather in Mahajanga in the north of the country to attend the GPN national “Food Festival”.
An event like no other
All of the attendees become one during this festival. One team working together for one goal: eradicate the malnutrition in Madagascar through non-formal education. The “Food Festival” gathered about 300 community leaders and decision-makers and more than 1000 members of the community and public together, and many more reached through media channels on the day. The diversity of membership made this event unique like no other. The Guides and Scouts felt honored for the presence of important figures like decision-makers and community leaders.
The morning started with different speeches giving an opportunity to the Advocacy Champions and young leaders to speak out about what they want to improve in their community, with four main messages they wanted to get across. First of all, a message to the public to call for their support of the good nutrition of girls and young women.
Secondly, a message to the school leaders, teachers, responsible for school canteens and parents to help them to understand the importance of the cleanliness and the quality of food that their children should eat. This emphasized the need of colorful, rainbow plates and healthy food that the children need to eat at school.
Thirdly, the Advocacy Champions highlighted the importance of the nutrition education in all schools. They explained how earlier on in the year, supported by the GPN programme, they wrote to their President, and how the Ministry of Education responded with the revision of the nutrition education programme offered in school and to start the education from a much lower age. Finally, they addressed their message to the Government and the decision makers in attendance to support the non-formal education offered by Skotisma Zazavavy Malagasy.
Around the event, different associations supporting the cause exhibited their work around nutrition. During the exhibition, the Advocacy Champions found that the Nutrition Regional Office of Mahajanga displayed different heathy recipes based on available, locally sourced food.
Speaking out For Her World
After such an eventful morning, Skotisma Zazavavy Malagasy held a panel debate with talks given by a Doctor, representative for the nutrition department of the Ministry of Health, the Nutrition Regional Office representative, a youth representative of WOSM (World Organisation of the Scouting Movement) and the young Advocacy Champion representatives. The audience took their opportunity to ask questions and give their points of view.
The Food Festival culminated in a colourful and lively carnival march through the city of Mahajanga. Joined by representatives of schools in the region, participants took to the streets wearing and holding signs with pictures of healthy and vibrant food that we should see in the plates we eat. Through dancing, singing and shouting, the girls gave out key animated messages to the city.
“We need to eat colourful plates to ensure our health. The food we eat today will ensure our health now and in the future!”