Canadian Leadership in Nutrition

In just over a week, thousands of world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, and journalists from around the globe will gather for Women Deliver 2019 to accelerate progress for girls and women everywhere. A key topic of discussion will be nutrition and how it can be leveraged to ensure women and children around the world can thrive. 

Julia Anderson, CanWaCH’s Acting Executive Director, kicked off the discussion through a unique interview with CARE Canada Program Manager, Sarah MacIndoe, and award-winning journalist Kimothy Walker. Throughout a cooking demonstration, they had an in-depth conversation about Canada’s long history of leadership in global nutrition. 

Cooking demonstrations are a key feature of the Southern African Nutrition Initiative, or “SANI” initiative, a project implemented in partnership with CARE Canada, Cuso International, the Interagency Coalition of AIDS and Development (ICAD), and McGill University - all CanWaCH members. Trained community volunteers lead a cooking session, discussing locally-available ingredients, nutritional information, and how to prepare a simple recipe. The cooking demonstrations give participants new nutritional knowledge, which then gets shared between individuals, families, and communities. 

This cooking demonstration and interview was presented as part of the Feed Her Future campaign, which is dedicated to building public awareness of the importance and benefits of giving women and girls access to proper nutrition, through the lens and learning of SANI.

SANI is one important example of a Canadian aid project that puts women and girls first. SANI uses a rights-based approach to foster a sustainable environment where women and girls can become champions of their own futures.  

SANI began in 2016 and is currently being implemented in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia where it seeks to reduce inequalities through a holistic approach that focuses on:

  • training and equipping community health workers
  • cooking demonstrations that educate community members (both women and men) on the use of nutritious foods from locally available ingredients
  • improving water, hygiene and sanitation
  • community dialogues that address unequal gender norms and behaviours

Canadian organizations and individuals have been integral to an astoundingly large number of high-impact advancements in nutrition. Technologies for improving nutrition such as double fortified salt and multiple micronutrient powders were developed right here in Canada, impacting the lives of millions each year worldwide. Canada supplies approximately 75% of the world’s supply of vitamin A supplements. Since 1998, vitamin A has saved the lives of over four million children around the world and has improved the eyesight and immune systems of many more. 

Canadian organizations are also at the forefront of advancing a feminist approach to global nutrition. Women and girls are most at risk for poor nutrition, with more than one billion women and girls suffering from malnutrition, and over half a billion experiencing anaemia. Inequalities between men and women determine who eats first and who eats last in many households. So, even if nutritious food is available, there may be other reasons that women and girls will not have access to it. 

Feed Her Future is an important part of collective efforts to raise awareness of Canada’s leading role in advancing the health, rights and well-being of women and children. Now is the time to Lead On Canada