The Gambia Nutrition Agency (NaNA) hosted a landmark event to kick-start the commemoration of African Day 2024, drawing professionals, professors, doctors of nutrition, and nutritionists from across the continent.

The conference, held in Bakau in The Gambia, centered on the theme "Education: Building Nutrition Literate Communities," emphasising the critical role of nutrition literacy in promoting good health.

The theme, encapsulated in the slogan "Good Nutrition Starts From Me,"resonated deeply with the attending experts who collectively underscored the necessity of prioritising nutrition across Africa.

The event was graced by notable figures including Professor Francis B. Zotor, Director and Trustee of Africa Catalyzing Action For Nutrition (AfriCAN), Dr Isatou Jallow, Executive Director of NaNA, Dr Charity Binka, Executive Secretary of the African Media and Malaria Research Network, and Professor Frank Baiden of Ghana’s University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS).

During the event, the attendees toured NaNA's facilities, gaining firsthand insight into the agency's initiatives and impact.

The tour showcased NaNA’s comprehensive approach to tackling malnutrition and promoting healthy dietary practices through community engagement and educational programmes.

Observations and Insights

Professionals from various countries, including Ghana, The Gambia, and Cameroon, shared their observations and insights from the tour.

They commended NaNA's robust infrastructure and innovative programmes, which have successfully improved nutrition literacy and outcomes in local communities. The experts noted the importance of such models being replicated in other African nations to address widespread nutritional challenges.

Professor Zotor highlighted the significance of community-driven initiatives, stating, "Empowering individuals with nutrition knowledge is the cornerstone of fostering healthier communities. NaNA’s approach serves as a beacon for other nations aiming to achieve similar success."

Dr Jallow emphasised the role of the youth in these efforts, reflecting on NaNA's youth-focused programmes. "Young people are the future custodians of our health. She remarked that engaging them in nutrition education benefits them individually and ensures a healthier generation.”

Strategic Improvements and Collaborations

The discussions also focused on strategic improvements and collaborations to enhance nutrition outcomes across the continent.

Dr Binka stressed the need for a multisectoral approach, involving governments, educational institutions, and the media. "Effective communication and education strategies are vital. We must harness the power of the media to spread awareness and combat misinformation about nutrition," she urged.

Professor Baiden pointed out the necessity of integrating nutrition education into school curriculums. "Educating children about healthy eating habits from a young age will instil lifelong practices that can prevent diet-related diseases," he explained.

Initiatives across Africa

Ghana, The Gambia, and Cameroon representatives shared ongoing initiatives in their respective countries. Ghana has been making strides with its School Feeding Programme, which ensures that children receive nutritious meals at school, improving both health and educational outcomes.

The Gambia has focused on community-based nutrition programmes that engage local leaders and health workers in promoting healthy diets. Cameroon has launched campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of diverse diets rich in locally available foods.


The event concluded with a consensus on the urgent need for African nations to prioritise good nutrition. The experts committed to continuing their efforts to improve nutrition literacy and collaborate on strategies that can be adapted to different contexts across the continent.

As Africa commemorates African Day 2024, the theme of building nutrition-literate communities stands as a powerful reminder that good nutrition is the foundation of a healthy and prosperous future.

The insights and commitments made during this event in Bakau, The Gambia, are set to inspire and drive the ongoing efforts to enhance nutrition across the continent.

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