Adolescent – Nutrition Life Skills

Adolescent – Nutrition life skills

   

Nutrition life skills help empower adolescents to take control of their lives. The social and economic empowerment of adolescent girls is meant to prepare them to become healthy, educated, and empowered women, in order to prevent the intergenerational cycle of undernutrition. To reduce nutrition vulnerability, the programme primarily targets and works with women and adolescent girls ages 15-45 from economically vulnerable and impoverished households.

 

Sadia Sultana, Success Story

Sadia Sultana, an 18-year-old adolescent girl, lives with her family in Sreemangal, Moulvibazar. She has been receiving life skills training and cash assistance for homestead poultry rearing under the Suchana programme.

Life skills in nutrition helps adolescent girls build a positive outlook on their own lives. It improves their social skills in communication, negotiation, problem-solving, and decision-making. Life skills training helps participants become more aware of adolescent healthcare, nutrition, and the negative effects of early marriage.

 

Training facilitation

Life skills training has been implemented through two different stages. First, service provider experts trained selected adolescent girls from their groups as peer trainers. Then, the peer trainers conduct peer-to-peer group sessions on life skills, literacy and numeracy skills, and Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC).

Second, participants are given a choice between income-generating activities (IGAs), or vocational training. In life skills training, Sadia picked up different skills for ensuring good health and nutrition, and she chose to pursue IGA. She received training on youth-relevant topics including adolescent nutrition, child marriage, and care during pregnancy, gender, negotiation skills, decision-making, communication, self-control, and more.

Adolescents like Sadia are now more informed about child nutrition, health (including reproductive health), personal and environmental hygiene, and WASH. “I now know about the negative effects of early marriage and early pregnancy on both mothers and their children, and can inform my parents and community about it. I also keep myself clean, and maintain all the handwashing and hygiene procedures taught during the life skills training,” said Sadia.

Empowering adolescents in decision-making can significantly contribute to reducing early marriage, and support the continuation of their education, their influence on economic activities, and their contribution to community work.

“With the IGAs’ business development skills, I am able to rear ducks and hens. I also know how to grow food on a small piece of land. My family can sell the excess food and earn around BDT 1,000- 1,500 every month,” said Sadia.

 

 

“The best thing I have learned from
life skills training is how to bring my dreams into reality.”


Sadia Sultana

 

The life skills participants are shown can also contribute to adolescents’ economic empowerment by developing their business development skills, linking them with IGAs, and providing IGA-connected skills training.

Sadia now knows what she should be eating to meet her daily nutrition limit. Not only that, Sadia says her family now value her opinions, and she feels like she matters. “Before, my parents were sceptical about me going outside, but now I can move about freely outside my house. I was very shy at the beginning, but slowly I have learned to talk with more confidence and feel free to compete in sub-national and national level competitions,” said Sadia.

Adolescent training and clubs within the community have brought about broader socio-political shifts in knowledge, attitudes, behaviours, and relationships, thereby creating an enabling environment for improved nutrition.

 

Benefits

Such transformative social change within the community has enhanced the sustainability and impact of the programme. The collaboration was also strengthened at the sub-national level with the Department of Youth Development (DYD) and the Department of Women Development (DWD) to provide vocational training.

During the review period 2019-2020, DYD and DWD officials enrolled 292 adolescents in their regular vocational training programmes in popular trades such as block printing and batik, beautification, and tailoring.

Additionally, caregivers and adolescents are empowered with knowledge and skills to practice improved infant and young child feeding (IYCF) and maternal, child health nutrition (MCHN).

 

Contact us at:

suchana.bangladesh@savethechildren.org

House CWN (A) 35, Road 43, Gulshan 2, Dhaka 1212