Tuesday, September 09, 2014

VYLH volunteers represent PHL in Int’l Youth Leadership Workshop

Written by Ryan John Pascual
NCR-South Luzon Cluster

Participants, Organizers and Speakers of the First iYouLead Training-Workshop held last August 10-17, 2014.  (Photo credit: iYouLead Organizing Committee)


BOGOR, INDONESIA – Two Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH)-Philippines volunteers, Floyd Edrea and Ryan Pascual, represented the country for the First International Young Food and Nutrition Leadership Training Workshop, also dubbed as the iYouLead, held last August 10-17, 2014. Organized by the pioneer batch of Indonesian youth leaders (DoYouLead), Pergizi Pangan (The Food and Nutrition Society of Indonesia), Federation of Asian Nutrition Societies (FANS) and the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS), the workshop was attended by a total of 107 youth leaders coming from different parts of the world: Indonesia, Australia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Myanmar, Uganda, Vietnam and the Philippines.Various social programs and trainings were held in four different locations namely Bogor, Bandung, Jakarta, and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. 

With the theme “Strengthening Youth Capacity for Future Global Leadership on Nutrition, Food and Health”, the iYouLead aimed to channel experiences and build camaraderie among young nutritionists, food scientists, and medical doctors—the future leaders in the field of nutrition, food, and health. This gathering also served as an avenue for the formation of a global network of young leaders to strengthen the aforementioned areas, as well as develop their capacity in advancing nutrition, food, and health in the local and international scale. The workshop also paved the way for government and industry leaders, key players from global organizations, and experts from the field to share their best practices and leadership experiences. According to the organizers, increasing the participants’ understanding in nutrition, food, and health issues in a holistic perspective will allow them to administer solutions that are innovative, effective, and sustainable.

Excellent training locations

In Bogor, the training program included lectures on leadership, nutrition, and the food industry which was led by local and international experts. Discussion groups formed an essential part of the lecture, as well as the session on the formation of a binding organization or forum for the attendees of the said event. 

The social program, on the other hand, included exposure trips in different manufacturing plants of industry partners located in Bandung, Jakarta and Yogyakarta. The company visit also included a presentation of the company’s profile and efforts related to community nutrition through theircorporate social responsibility (CSR) program. The training workshop culminated with the group visiting various heritage sites and having a farewell party in Yogyakarta.
Key players in the workshop

Twenty-five government and industry leaders coming from Indonesia and the Southeast Asian region were invited to grace the event. Among the august slate of speakers were the former IUNS President and Professor Mark Wahlqvist, the current IUNS vice-president Dr. V. Prakash, Federation of Asian Nutrition Societies (FANS) president Ms. Pek Yee Chow, Chairman of the Southeast Asia Public Health Nutrition Network (SEA-PHN) Dr. Tee Siong, President of the Food and Nutrition Society of Indonesia Prof. Hardinsyaw, and World Food Program Senior Adviser Dr. Martin Bloem.

Notably, the Director General of Maternal and Child Health of the Indonesian Ministry of Health  Dr. Anung Sugihantonio Kes posted a challenge to the iYouLead participants. The challenge included three tasks: (1) support the national movement for nutrition improvement in the first 1000 days of life, (2) develop nutrition messages that can be used in the community, and (3) conduct research in nutrition problems and non-communicable diseases. 

Recurring health and nutrition matters

Other than providing an overview on the advancements in food and nutrition, three recurring themes were also highlighted in the program. The first one is about the notion that food, nutrition and health are interrelated. Second, there is a global effort on investing and improving child health during the first 1000 days after birth which is participated by the public and private sector in various societies. Scaling up Nutrition, also known as the SUN program, aims to provide children a healthy start at life. Stunting and impaired cognitive development are some of the irreversible consequences of poor nutrition during the first 1000 days (between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday). According to their official website (http://scalingupnutrition.org/), SUN is a precondition in achieving goals of eradicating poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combatting disease – which all contribute to build a stronger future for communities and nations. The third theme underlines the youth’s important role in improving health, through developing various innovations in nutrition promotion, agriculture, and food sciences. 

Formation of the iYouLead Forum

The training workshop led to the formation of the International Young Food and Nutrition Leadership (iYouLead) Forum. Members of the forum include the DoYouLead (Indonesian Young Food and Nutrition) alumni and the current training-workshop participants. The Forum will carry the objectives of the iYouLead Training Workshop and will manage the conduct of the next iYouLead.

The officers of the iYouLead Forum were also elected with the 2014 iYouLead Committee Head, Mr. Teguh Jati Prasetyo of Bogor Agricultural University as the iYouLead Forum Coordinator. The other five nominees constituted the forum’s executive committee and will hold posts related to general affairs, program development, human resources management, and marketing. Technical advisers of the iYouLead will come from partner institutions such as Pergizi Pangan and IUNS.

VYLH-Philippines on global participation

Both of the VYLH-Philippines delegates came from the network’s pioneer batch of volunteers. At present, Mr. Floyd Edrea is a registered nurse and Birth Defects Surveillance Project Nurse Coordinator in the Visayas Region. Edrea is also the current VYLH-Philippines Cluster Secretariat. Mr. Ryan Pascual is a graduate student at the Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines Diliman.  

In the network, both held important positions with Pascual as National President and Edrea as the Visayas Cluster Coordinator for two years, from 2011 to 2012. 

VYLH-Philippines is grateful for the support extended by the organizers of the First iYouLead Training Workshop and their adviser Prof. Hardinsyaw, VYLH-Philippines National Program Adviser Dr. Carmencita Padilla, and Dr. Christopher Howson of the March of Dimes.

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Editor Joan Barredo (NCR-South Luzon Cluster PIRO)

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