The Government of Bangladesh identifies nutrition as a cross-cutting issue and has committed to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement.
Nutrition may have a significant impact on physical as well as cognitive development and productivity in humans. Good nutrition, which comprises adequate quality and quantity of food intake that reduces the frequency of illness is considered to be a basic human right. Hence, it is an essential input for economic development.
As youths are the future leaders and most important part of our population, their nutritional demand should be ensured. Moreover, they should be involved with nutritional movements.
Nutrition Olympiad is an annual national event where youth can get an opportunity to share their experiences to promote healthy diets and nutrition through innovative activities. They can also express their concerns and challenges related to nutrition and seek actionable solutions as well as build networks.
With the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and European Union (EU), the nutrition Olympiad 2019 was held on Saturday 27th April 2019 at the Bangabandhu International Convention Centre (BICC), Sher-E-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka. Through Meeting the Under-nutrition Challenge (MUCH) project, implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Food Planning and Monitoring Unit (FPMU), Ministry of Food, and the BIID Foundation. Like BNNC, BIRTAN, GAIN, UNICEF, and others, YPARD joined the event as ‘Strategic Partner’.
The theme of this year’s Olympiad was “Foster Youth Engagement for a Well-nourished World”. The day-long event had a variety of exciting activities for lined up youth engagement like food design competition, street play, healthy snacks competition, and many more. More than 1000 youths, government officials, international and national organizations, civil society, professionals, academe, media participated in the event. More than seventeen stalls of different nutrition clubs from different educational institutions and non-government organizations demonstrated their projects regarding food and nutrition.
The opening ceremony was graced with the speech of M. Badrul Arefin, Director General of Food Planning and Monitoring Unit (FPMU), Ministry of food. Md. Shahid Uddin Akbar, Chairman and CEO of BIID foundation expressed his contentment in successfully conducting this huge program and enunciated his wish to expand nutrition club. His speech was followed by Guest of Honor, Robert D. Simpson, representative of FAO in Bangladesh, who delivered the message of the importance of nutrition and how food brings us together and addresses the issues of malnutrition globally.
Succeeding, Chief Guest, Dr. Md. Abdur Razzaque, Honorable Minister of Agriculture conducted the inauguration of this Olympiad. Afterwards, participants and guests, all together stood up in unison to take the Oath of Nutrition Club Member. Closing remarks were given by Chairperson Shahabuddin Ahmed, Secretary, Ministry of Food. FAO representative, Robert D. Simpson; US Ambassador for Bangladesh, Earl R. Miller, officials of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other important guests went around and appreciated the stalls, took photographs with enthusiastic participants.
The participants were gleeful, and each organization had put their best efforts to uphold their individual projects. Selected participants competed in amusing games such as open internet challenge, healthy diet chart, food design, mini-essay writing, cooking, street play and video nutrition messages at the end of the ceremony, Honorable State Minister of Information and Communication Technology Division, Zunaid Ahmed Palak also delivered a convincing, motivating discourse promulgating healthy food in a proper amount. In the end, winners of the best stall, best nutrition club, action tree were awarded.
YPARD members- Farjana Akhte and Habiba Jannat from Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University (SAU); Ruhul Amin along with Tanzil Antor and several from Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU); and few more from other institutes have participated in this event. They explained about mission, vision, and objectives of YPARD Bangladesh and provided information to the visitors through some document source, reports and leaflets.
From this one-day event, I have learned a lot about nutritional activities of different nutrition clubs of Bangladesh and many pieces of information of proper nutritional status on our daily food. It was a pleasure to work as a YPARD Bangladesh member at such a great annual event like Nutrition Olympiad.
Photo credit: Md. Mijanur Rahman