Improving nutrition in teen girls through football in Kenya

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Global Alliance for Nutrition (GAIN) recently published a report on improving nutrition for adolescents. In particular, the Adolescent Nutrition Through Football report highlighted nutrition in teenage Kenyan girls and was based on the Aim for One Goal project by GAIN.

Aim for One Goal uses football as a motivating factor to improve the nutrition awareness and life opportunities of  teenage girls (aged 12-15 years). At the same time, the project accommodates mentorship of the young girls through the WorldCoaches sister initiative.

Football was picked as a socialization activity since it is a popular sport, the easy link between being a strong player and good nutrition and the fact that football games are a suitable avenue for sharing information.

A pilot of the program was carried out in Kisumu and Kilifi and engaged about 550 girls in: weekly football training sessions with a focus on nutrition, community sensitization events and adaptation of nutrition information. At the same time, training of 28 mentors for the WorldCoaches program was taking place in the two locations.

The report concludes by encouraging:

  • Involvement and training of parents on nutrition topics to complement the adolescent nutrition project.
  • Introduction of small gardens with locally available vegetables and fruits in schools and communities.
  • Creation of a link between sexual reproductive health (SRH) and nutrition since there is interest amongst the girls because of their body changes occurring in their developmental stage.
  • Sustainment of the WorldCoaches training so they continue to deliver the nutrition awareness in the communities.

The World Food Programme (WFP), Ministry of Health and Unilever, recently launched a report that highlights the state of teen nutrition in Kenya.

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