15 December 2020 - Kyrgyzstan

Don’t be a zombie, take action!

Youth leader Manata Aleksandrovna

What if Zombies existed in real life? You probably imagined zombies from the Walking Dead, disfigured creatures in search of new prey.

No! If Zombies existed, they would look more like people. They would look like those who constantly say the same thing, who do not move to action and who do not shout "brains", but keep saying the phrase "I promise…"

Oh, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Manata and I am a Youth Leader for Nutrition from Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan is very dependent on imported basic food products.

Food diversity is scarce, and malnutrition persists, leading to high levels of anaemia among adults and stunted growth among children. The poor and vulnerable segments of the population are particularly food insecure and malnourished.

I was not provided with nutritious meals at school, and I spent 11 years of my life there. This is one of the reasons I have anaemia and I struggle with it to this day.

We all love to shout that children are our future! But why do we not provide all children with the same worthy future?

Youth leader Manata Aleksandrovna

Youth leader Manata Aleksandrovna.

If you look at Save the Children’s new Nutrition Critical report, you will see monstrous results and numbers. It scares me that undernutrition was linked to 45% of deaths among children under the age of 5. Or that 144 million (1 in 5) children were stunted and 47 million were wasted. COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that all the hard work,all the progress can be cancelled out. The most vulnerable children and youth are set to fall even further behind.

It is time to stop making empty promises and instead use every opportunity to take actions.

As a Youth Leader for Nutrition, I am calling on decision-makers to engage in the 2021 Nutrition for Growth year of action and make the commitments that are urgently needed to end child malnutrition.

We have that habit to use general phrases like: we need to unite,we need to fight… Now,I really mean it!

Decision-makers must prioritise the Youth Agenda for Action – developed by the Youth Leaders for Nutrition (from the Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Network). Engaging young people – who are critical agents of change – is essential to supporting both the immediate Covid-19 efforts and the long-term aim of building back better. 

I sincerely believe that the years to come will treat young people as equals and involve them in decision-making processes.

Don't be a zombie! Take action!

In the past two decades the world has made real progress in tackling child malnutrition. But that progress is unfinished. It’s also highly unequal. Now, the impacts of Covid-19 pose a deadly new challenge, threatening to unleash a wave of malnutrition among vulnerable communities. The devastating projected impact of the pandemic threatens to reverse years of hard-won progress. The most vulnerable children are set to fall even further behind. We must act now to both save children’s lives today and to safeguard their future from the scars of malnutrition. Read our new global report, ‘NUTRITION CRITICAL - Why we all must act now to tackle child malnutrition’, which makes an urgent case for governments and leaders to engage in the 2021 Nutrition for Growth year of action and make the commitments that are urgently needed to end child malnutrition. 

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