29 July 2015

Nominate your Nutrition Champion. Do it today.

Don't ever let anyone tell you that one person can't make a difference.  My mother told me this when I was very young.  She obviously was practising what she preached. But it is easy to be cynical--individuals don't make a difference: policies or programmes or legislation do, surely?  But you know what? Those are manifestations of long drawn out processes that are political and often reward those with the best arguments, the best organisation and the most determination. In other words, people. People who are driven to make a difference.

Nutrition needs leaders more than most other issues.  Why? Well, nutrition has no obvious institutional home (no Ministries of nutrition), it cuts across disciplines and sectors and so requires leaders who can work across boundaries, it is invisible--it needs people who can stand up for it, and it affects those who are most vulnerable and have least voice--the poorest, the youngest and the most marginalised.

Where are these leaders? They are everywhere.  Some are in the spotlight, some are behind the scenes. Some are at the frontlines, some are working at headquarters.  Some are technicians, some are implementers.  Some see themselves as leaders, others would never recognize themselves as such. Some are recognized, some are unsung.  In short there are many types and forms of leadership.  The important thing they all share is people taking responsibility and doing things that might be inconvenient for them but make things better for others.  Lead from where you are, is the motto, and it is a good one.

Do we do a good enough job of celebrating leaders in nutrition?  No.  One of my former bosses always used to say its a shame we don't recognize contributions of people before they leave a job or before they pass on.

So I'm really pleased about the Transform Nutrition Champions awards from Transform Nutrition and Save the Children UK.  It recognizes unsung heroes and by doing so gives them a little more belief and fortitude and, more importantly, gives the rest of us their story to inspire us and help energize the leaders of the future. 

Nominate someone.  Do it today.

No comments: