… 10 Take-aways From The Protein Challenge Webinar 3
The latest session of the Protein Challenge Webinar Series with the theme – ‘Empowering Women to Break the Cycle of Malnutrition in Nigeria’ held on Thursday, September 10, 2020.
The webinar was organised with the sole aim of drawing attention to the urgent need and ways to empower women in the quest to break the cycle of malnutrition in Nigeria.
The webinar zeroed in on how women can be empowered to serve as champions in the fight against the scourge of malnutrition, and also to educate them on the need to insist on a healthy, protein-rich diet for their households, with the attendant cascading effect on the community.
In case you missed the session, here are the key Top-10 takeaways:
#1: Malnutrition is also a pandemic occurring globally, much like the COVID-19 pandemic and it adversely affects men, women and children. Malnutrition does not spare any age, sex or class. When women are educated and informed, they can make proper decisions about nutrition.
#2: Women are fundamental to development. Women empowerment benefits the nation, especially in the nutritional status of all Nigerians. Women empowerment will reduce poverty, improve national economic performance and engender better nutrition in the family.
#3: The government urgently needs to look into the affairs of women, as women play a vital role in meal planning and food choices. Women are the key to breaking the inter-generational cycle of growth failures by providing adequate nutrition for themselves, their families and their communities.
#4: Maternal literacy needs to be implemented at all levels along with nutritional policies targeted at women across communities. Women largely dictate the food culture in Nigeria and they need to be properly educated about nutrition.
#5: Factors like maternal literacy, access to health information services and the level of income all contribute to the total health of individuals. The Federal government must implement nutritional policies that are beneficial to women, who will, in turn, influence their households and communities.
#6: Figures from the Nigerian Protein Deficiency Report indicate that over 58 per cent of people are protein deficient, with rice as the most consumed food. A diet of carbohydrates alone will invariably lead to protein deficiency.
#7: Women are domestic implementers. They are the key to the delivery of nutritional policies. It is not the best when their food choices are driven mainly by bargain shopping.
#8: Children are directly affected by the nutritional choices of their mothers. Women would do well to engage babies in exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. When infants start to eat solid foods, mothers need to add protein sources like soybeans, lentils, ground crayfish, peas and other legumes in their starting diets.
#9: A lot of women are unemployed and have little or no income. So, to empower women, they should be given jobs, access to funds to venture into small scale businesses, along with nutrition education. Women should learn to engage in home gardening to supplement the family’s protein needs.
#10: People do not have to break the bank to eat healthy and nutritious foods. Women have to explore what is available in the immediate environment. Okpa, Ukwa, Wara, Fura are protein-rich and affordable. Groundnuts, peas, nuts and beans are protein-rich and can be mixed with other foods during meal preparations, to provide variety. It is not enough to stick to just one form of protein.
In summary, empowering women generally will take us a step closer to breaking the cycle of malnutrition in Nigeria.