Meet the women of the CSN: Jane Napais Lankisa

Women's Nutrition, East and Southern Africa

Youth Leader for Nutrition, Kenya

My work in nutrition

I am a global youth leader for nutrition under the SUN youth leaders program.  My work revolves around nutrition advocacy with a specific interest in adolescent nutrition. Based in Kenya, I champion for optimum nutrition among young people and children by extension.

My passion for nutrition started back in 2013 before I joined university to pursue my course. One time my aunt kept telling us that her child got sick every now and then only to find out that they were malnourished. That triggered something and made me curious to know more about nutrition in order to help my family and my community, to know best nutrition practice in order to avoid the instances of the child being sick every now and then.

The role of women

Women have more nutrients demand because of the natural stages they undergo like menstruation, pregnancy and lactating. Good nutrition for women determines the health and future of the unborn generation. In order to end the vicious cycle of malnutrition, more nutrition should be enhanced in women.

Women play an important role in scaling up nutrition because when we empower women, we accelerate the end of hunger hence preventing surge of malnutrition.

Being a woman is a blessing and a challenge as well. As a young woman,  it is quite fascinating working with other fellow women because it’s easier for  me to relate to their nutrition and health experiences and the majority are so responsive and receptive to my advocacy duties.

Conversely, being a woman presents its portion of challenges. First, a number of leadership policies do not favor us. Here in Kenya, there is a two-third gender rule showing unbalanced gender representation. Fewer women are ranked on top leadership position translating to few women role models to look up to.Secondly, cultures and traditions put men on top,  meaning,  I (representative of other young women)  have to work twice as much to compete effectively with the male counterparts in the same position.

In order to elevate women, first of all, as women we need to support one another, educate, encourage and empower one another.

Secondly, leadership policy amendments should be advocated for so as to ensure gender equality in all sectors of different economies

Lastly, more advocacy is needed to create awareness of women’s position within society.