As part of a social campaign "Bhalo Khabo Bhalo Thakbo" (or "Eat Well, Live Well"), 10 lakh students have vowed to eat nutritious and safe food to make themselves healthy citizens of the country.
The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a Swiss-based development organisation, launched the campaign in October 2019 to improve their nutritional status, according to a press statement.
According to the report of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in Bangladesh, 2015, 36% of children, aged 10-18 years, in Bangladesh are suffering from malnutrition. Further, according to another report of Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey, 2014, 31% of married adolescents, aged 15-19, suffer from malnutrition, it read.
During the campaign to date, teachers raised awareness among the students about the importance of nutritious food and motivated them to eat such food.
The campaign also encouraged food manufacturers to produce better quality food and policymakers to generate supportive policies to improve adolescent diets.
The campaign helped adolescents improve their eating behaviour and prepare them for a better future. In line with this, the students also took an oath, a video was screened and a competition on poster making was held, read the statement.
Students from 3,000 primary and high schools across the country took part in the campaign.
One million adolescents have become one big FoodSquad, vowing to lead a better and healthy lifestyle by choosing and eating healthier and safer food options.
These adolescents took their pledges either on pledge forms distributed in schools, or through the online form in the campaign's website (www.bhalokhabobhalothakbo.com).
During this journey, multiple digital platforms were used and several activities, including the participation of celebrities, took place to make it a big success, it read.
Celebrities like cricketer Mashrafee Bin Mortaza, MP, young entrepreneur Ayman Sadiq, food blogger Iftekhar Rafsan, and star footballer Jamal Bhuiyan participated on social media platforms.
Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the campaign became more online-centric and created awareness and informative content for adolescents regarding Covid-19.
Dr Rudaba Khondker, Bangladesh Country Director of GAIN, in a statement congratulated the adolescents for taking the pledge.
"With this milestone reached under the leadership of the government, we will keep working with the partners and the private sector towards enhancing the supply of nutritious and safe food for the adolescents of Bangladesh," she said, according to the statement.
Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Netherlands, the campaign is expected to continue.