Developing capacity for strengthening food security and nutrition

FAO helps raise journalists’ awareness on food security and nutrition topics in Armenia

17 February 2019 | Tsaghkadzor, Armenia – A two-day intensive training on raising awareness of journalists in the field of food security and nutrition was held in Armenia. The training program was initiated and developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in close collaboration with the National Institute of Health of the Ministry of Health and the Food Security division of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia.

A total of 15 journalists who report about agriculture, health and social protection at national TV, radio and in newspapers and via social media attended the training. The specialists of the Ministries of Agriculture and Health have elaborated a list with selection criteria that helped to identify the relevant journalists for this training. The The training included lectures and work in groups covering the topics on food security, food safety, micronutrient deficiencies and other relevant issues for Armenia. Indeed the training focused on the need of disseminating accurate and relevant information on the topics, thus promoting improved knowledge of journalists for reaching a better quality of the content news based on reliable sources.   

During the training, participants were provided with useful information and data at global and national scale which helped increase awareness on food security and nutrition. “Addressing hunger and food insecurity issues is a key priority to ensure healthy lives and promoting well-being as well as equitable quality education across the population for all ages”, - said Zaruhi Beglaryan, the FAO project coordinator in Armenia. - “There is indeed evidence that word hunger is rising. According to the FAO report The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (2018), the number of people who suffer from hunger has been growing over the past three years and those affected by undernourishment, or chronic food deprivation, have increased from around 804 million in 2016 to nearly 821 million in 2017 – around one person out of every nine in the world. Women and children are more likely than men to be affected by severe food insecurity almost among all the countries.”

Focusing on the Armenian situation, it is clear that “food security in relation with nutrition is an essential thematic to address where the statistics on nutritional status of children under the age of five years and 15-49 year old women is alarming. Indeed, according to the data collected in a three year period 2015-2017, over nine percent of the Armenian children under the age of five are stunting, four percent are malnourished while fourteen percent are overweight’’, - stated Ms Vardanush Petrossian, doctor-nutritionist. -  “The efforts are concentrating on raising awareness among the population at all levels in order to find a way to overcome the severe food insecurity and nutrition issue which is increasingly affecting the country’’.

The attending journalists expressed their satisfaction about the training and the information provided, demonstrating their growing interest to learn through active debates and raise questions to the expert trainers. Participants were also informed about relevant information sources, which would help them to produce proven news and articles in the future. ‘’Producing reliable news is part of our mandate and we look forward to further insightful information exchanges”, - said Naira Badalian, journalist for ArmInfo News Agency.

This training is part of the awareness raising campaign in Armenia under the FAO project “Developing Capacity for Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition in Selected Countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia”, funded by the Russian Federation.  The project is to strategically mediate the challenges in the country and promote cross-sectoral collaboration by providing adequate capacity to effectively pursue and manage coherence between agriculture, nutrition, health, education and social protection sectors.