Youth become Advocates for Improved Child Nutrition

From May 01-08, World Vision’s Child Health Now campaign will mobilize community youth clubs around Cambodia to advocate for increased public attention and government action in response to the 40% of Cambodian children who are malnourished. This will occur in 10 different provinces where World Vision works, including Preah Vihear, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Speu, Takeo.

Child Health Now, an advocacy campaign combatting child malnutrition in Cambodia, supports youth to be advocates within their communities. As witnesses to the challenges threatening child health and nutrition, youth can work together to determine root causes leading to malnutrition and present those problems to the Government. Malnutrition is a multi-sector issue and requires very good coordination to address it sustainably. Key improvements are required in access and quality of health care services, water and sanitation, hygiene, food security and education.

Events will be attended by members of the community as well as by sub-national level Government representatives, who are accountable for community development and child health.

“We’ve seen solid progress in many parts of Cambodia but malnutrition rates still remain too high” says World Vision National Director, Jason Evans. “We believe all Cambodians should understand the urgency of child malnutrition, which not only impacts the health of Cambodia’s next generation, but also has economic consequences for the country now and in the future. It’s exciting to see so many Cambodian youth focussing their energy and voices on the well-being of so many children – we hope their advocacy is accepted positively from all levels of government and society.”

Malnutrition can have irreversible effects on a child’s development. Children who are stunted (a result of persistent malnutrition) are less likely to perform well in school, less resistant to infection and disease, and less likely to be wholly productive as adults. This means economic and GDP growth are affected due to high national health care costs and a less productive workforce.

Jason Evans adds, “Investing in the health and nutrition of children isn't just good development for individuals but also for communities and the nation as a whole. Every citizen can help ensure good nutrition is available for all children.”