Girls and young women have a vital role to play in the Philippines when it comes to improving their own nutrition and that of their families and communities as well.
That was the message at the launch of the Girl Powered Nutrition (GPN) badge and advocacy campaign in Manila on 11 July.
The campaign, which will be delivered in partnership with Girl Scouts of the Philippines, WAGGGS, and Nutrition International, builds on existing GPN efforts to tackle girls’ malnutrition and raise the issue of the importance of girls’ nutrition and girls’ nutrition programmes.
In the Philippines this is particularly important as a growing number of girls have poor diets due to the wide availability of unhealthy foods, particularly in urban areas, and they are also exposed to unhealthy food adverts on social media and television.
The launch event featured speeches from Susan R. Locsin, National President, Girls Scouts of the Philippines, Joel Spicer, President and CEO, of Nutrition International and Stephen Weaver, Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Canada to the Philippines, as well as an interactive introduction to the badge, with Girl Scouts leading attendees through the badge activities. These included creating a Rainbow Plate by filling up a tiffin box – designed to highlight the importance of eating healthy, balanced meals.
“We already have the key, we simply need to insert it in the lock, jiggle a bit and the door of healthy ways will gladly welcome us,” Girl Scout Kathleen Vivas, Advocacy champion, Girl Scouts of the Philippines.
There was also a wonderful opportunity to hear directly from Girl Scouts themselves as they shared their own learning, reflections and experiences of GPN advocacy campaign work.
From the importance of healthy diets and good nutrition to challenging key decision-makers to listen and work with girls and young women to reduce malnutrition, it was clear from their powerful speeches that Girl Powered Nutrition has a vital role to play when it comes to creating positive and sustainable change.
During the launch legislators, city mayors, representatives from local and international non-profit organisations and the media pledged their commitment to supporting and promoting health and nutrition for girls by looking at introducing improved food labelling, regulating food advertisements, and regulating the sale of junk food in and around schools. Pledges included:
I commit to support Girl Powered Nutrition and a world where healthy and well-nourished girls are able to reach their full potential through…
“Supporting girl’s education, providing training and working with communities as a whole to help them understand the value that girls bring to society.”
“Actively participating and supporting endeavours like this and using my voice as a youth representative in relaying and imparting ideas that will benefit both the youth and the country’s betterment”
“Lobbying for local ordinances in banning or restricting junk and unhealthy food within 100 meters from public and private schools.”
Making the news and spreading the word!
After the event, the badge and advocacy campaign remained high on the agenda with national front page newspaper coverage, and Girl Scouts Rose Jade Delgado, Angelika Joy Biñas and Kathleen Vivas discussing the importance of Girl Powered Nutrition on local radio.
“We are ready to use our power to make girls like us healthy and happy!” Cadet Girl Scout Cyrene Dawn Montano
Girl Scouts are already hard at work on the next steps of the advocacy campaign and have initially communicated with the decision makers who attended the event to follow up on their pledge commitments around restricting the sale of unhealthy foods around schools, support of school gardening to ensure availability of healthy food in schools and formulating local legislation to ensure healthier and well-nourished communities.