Drive launched to connect malnutrition experts with digital marketers

Published December 15, 2019
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar with participants at the launch of Ehsaas-FB Design Hackathon on Saturday. — INP
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar with participants at the launch of Ehsaas-FB Design Hackathon on Saturday. — INP

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar on Saturday stressed promotion of breastfeeding, hand washing and sanitation besides adopting balanced diet to tackle malnutrition needs in Pakistan.

She was speaking at the launch of a partnership with Facebook, ‘Design Hackathon’ to counter malnutrition in the country, which is not only due to poverty and lack of resources but also because of changing lifestyle and eating habits.

‘Design Hackathon’ will connect experts in malnutrition with digital marketers who, with additional support from Facebook, will help build innovative digital campaigns around the specific challenges of malnutrition.

The digital campaign, approved by the Ehsaas Poverty Alleviation Programme, will run at the Facebook platform free of cost to create awareness about malnutrition and help connect those in need with those who can help.

PM’s special assistant stresses promotion of breastfeeding, sanitation and balanced diet to tackle malnutrition needs

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Nishter said campaigns had to be culturally related to Pakistan, adding many measures suggested by experts to counter malnutrition were beyond the financial reach of ordinary citizens.

“To fight malnutrition today, we need 21st century tools such as digital marketing techniques on social media that can reach wide audiences,” Dr Nishtar said.

“We recognise millions of children in Pakistan suffer a range of health and development consequences due to malnutrition in all its forms, and that is why we have made malnutrition a top priority area of the Ehsaas programme.”

She said stunting, obesity and chronic diseases were closely interlinked.

During the hackathon, 10 teams will work to develop possible campaign solutions and designs that can be developed further and implemented as the Ehsaas programme’s official content on Facebook.

Throughout the hackathon, participants will benefit from industry-expert mentors providing guidance in a range of necessary skills, including in pitching, budgeting and impact assessment.

On the final day, three teams will be selected to present their ideas to a panel of leadership from the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division along with representatives from the World Bank.

The winning team will receive advertisement credits and additional support from Facebook to launch their malnutrition focused digital marketing campaign on the leading social media platform.

By partnering with technology and social media platforms, the Ehsaas programme would be able to reach more people across Pakistan with educational messages on malnutrition.

The applicants include interesting digital agencies, health startups, NGOs and individuals with applicable skills displaying commitment to social justice and poverty alleviation.

Pakistan is facing a crisis in terms of malnutrition and it has been estimated that the country loses around three per cent of GDP annually due to health-related issues, including stuntingamong children.

Speakers at the launch said a large population of the country was suffering from obesity due to mismanaged diet whereas the increase in number of underweight adults and adolescent was also due to dietary issues.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2019

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