Transform Nutrition Learning Journey: Kenaw Gebreselassie, Amref Health Africa, Ethiopia

I am currently working as Communications Manager for Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia, the largest African-led  International NGO which works to ensure health equity by serving women and children and reaching the most disadvantaged and inaccessible communities. Before this, I worked for Save the Children’s Health and Nutrition team  as a Communications and Research Uptake Manager where I disseminated research findings, developed key messages and communications materials on health and nutrition, coordinated the SUN Civil Society Network, and advocated for better health and nutrition services.

However, I wasn’t exposed to nutrition issues until later on in my life. Drought, famine, and the government’s and its partners’ emergency response was all I knew about nutrition issues but I didn’t know about the bigger picture. I started learning more about nutrition at Save the Children, but the first formal training I received was on the Transform Nutrition short course in 2014, where I learnt about the key issues, case studies and country experiences. The short course gave me the confidence I needed to talk about the issues, which had a major impact on my advocacy work at Save the Children and it continues support my communications and advocacy efforts at Amref Health Africa.

For example, I was part of the communications working group at the Ministry of Health so I advised on nutrition advocacy and contributed research uptake materials. As part of this working group, I participated in the development of the nutrition communication section of the National Nutrition Program II, which is currently operational and contributed to Ethiopia’s first 1000 days campaign messaging.  At Save the Children, I coordinated, among other things a radio panel seminar with government representation from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education, as well as Ministry of Women and Children’s Affair.

I have also used Transform Nutrition course materials to develop a media training programme that I have conducted all around Ethiopia. The media in Ethiopia tend focus on food security when covering nutrition related stories so the course teaches journalists how to spread nutrition related lessons, such as back yard gardening, the importance of diversity in diets, agriculture, and the impact of undernutrition on child development so they can present a more rounded and nuanced message for their audience.

 

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