September 26, 2018 Margaux Stastny, Director of Advocacy and Communications Nutrition International

Mobile Nutrition Knowledge Promotes Girls Empowerment, Agency and Well-Being

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Knowledge is power. It transforms lives and guides the decisions that change our world. For adolescent girls, whose agency is often curtailed, knowledge is a critical tool. With accurate and accessible information, girls can take charge of their own health and future.

This is especially true of nutrition information. Good nutrition is the critical ingredient every one of us needs to survive and to thrive. Without it, the brain cannot not develop fully, the body cannot grow and work optimally, and the immune system cannot function effectively.

Adolescence is a critical period where the body is growing faster than any time since the very first years. It is a crucial window where the body can either catch up on stunted physical, cognitive and mental development as a result of undernutrition in the first 1000 days, or fall further behind.

To date, accessing clear and useful information has been a challenge for girls around the world. This has aided the perpetuation of biases, speculation and taboos, which can often adversely impact girl’s nutrition and health decisions. But with the explosive growth of mobile phone technology, how people around the world access information is radically changing, becoming both easier and less expensive.

Photo: Girl Effect

Recognizing the challenge, and the opportunity, Nutrition International and Girl Effect came together to provide girls relevant information about nutrition in a way that speaks not only to them, but with them. Focusing on Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, we are connecting with millions of adolescent girls where they are— on their phones.

Photo: Girl Effect

Through Girl Effect’s Springster platform, accurate nutrition information is woven into content that girls actually want to read, making it entertaining and accessible. The girls’ themselves are involved in choosing and developing the content, communicating what they want to know and what matters to them. Through articles, top ten lists, recipes and Q&As with experts, girls are able to engage with the content, asking questions and submitting their own stories in an environment where they feel comfortable, accepted, and free to be honest and open.

Photo: Girl Effect

Springster Indonesia already reaches more than 3.5 million young girls through the free basics platform, a figure set to double by May 2019. Over the next two years, this innovative partnership, supported by the Government of Canada, aims to reach nearly five million girls, improving their nutrition knowledge so they can lead healthier, happier lives.

Gaining access to accurate knowledge on good nutrition is key to breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty and inequality. More than one billion women and girls in the world today are malnourished. Beginning in Indonesia, Nutrition International and Girl Effect want to give girls access to the power of knowledge, so they can use it to become their own champions, to take control of their own nutrition and make the decisions that are right for them.

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