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HRH Princess Sarah Zeid Of Jordan Discusses Malnutrition In Africa

It’s not uncommon for a member of the royal family of Jordan to be an advocate of a noble cause. HRH Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan chose one that is close to a mother’s heart: a newborn’s health and wellbeing in fragile settings.

HRH is a supporter of the World Food Programme’s efforts to provide good nutrition to children in their first 1000 days. It is a window of opportunity that determines a child’s destiny according to scientific reports.

In the summer of 2018 and just a few hours after her stay in the Republic of the Congo and Burundi, Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan joined the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity’s stage to talk about the importance of media in mobilizing the masses.

Can you tell us about some of the realities you have seen in Africa?
The Congo is massive, a population of 80 million in a land 27 times larger than Jordan. The infrastructure is practically non-existent, which makes it difficult to reach the people in need through the trucks carrying food and services. 40 million of infants are malnutritioned and they are in a daily battle of survival. On the other hand, Burundi is the same size of Switzerland with extremely high birth rates and its population will double in the next 17 years. It has the highest levels of chronic malnutrition.

In a child’s life the first 1000 days are the most critical. If we don’t nourish the children we will witness cognitive imparity and physical weaknesses. This will hence have a consequence on the future generations. It’s like we are jeopardizing our collective future.

How does the access to adequate food impact the potential for a child to achieve his/her dreams?
It’s not enough to feed people so that they don’t starve, it’s about changing their quality of life. And this comes from nutrition, from having enough iron for pregnant women so you they are not anemic and from the crucial first 1000 days of a child. We need to make sure both the woman and the child are healthy.

All the other cultural and educational actions are not enough if we haven’t first provided the essential building blocks. So everything starts with nutrition of infants. In our daily lives we know that, and we just have to think about other people as well. If you don’t believe that one person can change a life then you haven’t spent the night in a room with one mosquito. We all have to be the mosquito in our communities and seek commitment and participation

You deal with governments and civil society, but what can we do as individuals to help these causes?
This is why we need the general public and the creative industry so badly. They are the people who can change this and have the expertise to make others understand why these lives matter to the world. Change is going to come from the person that steps up and commits. Joining us to get sustained commitment is the right thing to do. We had to start acting years ago, but the only way to catch up is to act together now.

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By Victor N.