Given the complexity of tackling the triple burden of malnutrition that requires committed involvement of various stakeholders, SEAMEO RECFON organized a webinar on “Communicating Nutrition in Southeast Asia:  Strategies and Best Practices from Various Sectors on 19 September 2022.

The webinar was aimed to enhance the perspectives of the audience on the importance of effective communication in nutrition program implementation to greatly benefit specific target groups.

SEAMEO RECFON Director Prof Dr Muchtaruddin Mansyur, MD, PhD, in his welcome remarks, explained that the webinar was a kick-off activity for the Centre’s new focal area of interest on Social and Behavior Change Communication in Nutrition under our Third Five-Year Development Plan. He emphasized that this new focal area recognizes the need for continuous communication and advocacy on balanced nutrition using appropriate approaches and interventions to ensure a healthy and quality life throughout a person’s life cycle.

The webinar featured four distinguished resource persons who shared their experiences in communicating nutrition through the programs they have implemented from their respective institutions.

Mr. Juan Alfonso, MD, M.Sc, from GIZ Philippines, explained about his experiences in implementing Fit for School Program specifically about communicating WASH and nutrition in schools through social media campaigns, and influencers’engagements.

Ir. Harris Iskandar, PhD from Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of Indonesia shared the strategies and best practices in implementing Indonesia’s holistic integrative early childhood develop program (PAUD-HI) particularly on engaging local government institutions and parents through policy dialogues and capacity building activities.

Dr. Blesilda Calub, PhD from University of the Philippines Los Banos delivered her video and slide presentation about engaging households and school communities in sustaining the nutritional gains from school+home gardens and school-based feeding programs in the Philippines through systems and multisectoral approaches in capacity building, information and communication materials development, and infrastructure support for the target groups.

Dr. Teresa Stuart Guida, PhD, former Senior Advisor in the UNICEF Headquarter New York, shared her experience on engaging the private sector in Southeast Asia in improving nutrition outcomes,  identifying the potential private sector partners, and managing conflicts of interest among them in promoting nutrition.

Dr. Nur Hana Hamzaid from The National University of Malaysia explained about  communicating nutrition for special kids to parents and communities through clinical practice, scientific and popular interactive publications, collaboration with NGO, product innovations,  and social media engagements.

The webinar generated several key messages from the speakers such as the need for program implementers and partners to optimize systems approach as well as convergence principles to engage as many stakeholders as possible to address malnutrition problems; adopting mixed strategies in using various communication channels and forms of information materials for specific target groups and their social circles for behavioural change towards nutritional well-being; ensuring that program partners share common goals to avoid conflicts of interest; and being inclusive and innovative in program development and implementation to ensure that no one is left behind.

Mrs. Vida Parady from Universitas Indonesia moderated the webinar.