LAOS: Nutrition On The Big Screen
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Published on 15 August 2012

In “My Best Friends”, a malnourished boy makes friends with many different kinds of food, and thanks to them, becomes strong and healthy. A fun way of showing the importance of eating a diverse diet to both young and old audiences!
Created by: Souliya Phoumivong

A baby explains to his mum that breastmilk really is the only thing he needs during the first six months after birth. A child dances with different kinds of food, makes friends with them and becomes strong and healthy. A little boy watches with fascination as all the food his mum eats turns into breastmilk for his little sister. Did we catch your attention?

VIENTIANE - These are but a few of the videos that resulted from WFP's team-up with 15 young Laotian filmmakers and an expert on Public Service Announcement (PSA) videos.

PSAs are designed to influence public interests, affect attitudes and potentially stimulate action on its featured social issues. In a country, where in rural areas, every second child grows up stunted, nutrition awareness needs to be promoted on the "big screen".  Without the right food during the critical first 1000 days of life, from conception to the baby's second birthday, children won't be able to reach their full physical and mental growth potential.

To fight undernutrition, WFP is broadening its scope of food assistance in Laos by including nutrition education in all aspects of WFP operations, and by employing opportunities such as this to reach a wider audience with its message.

In the PSA workshop organized by the U.S. Embassy in Lao PDR and the Luang Prabang Film Festival, 10 short videos were produced under the tutelage of American filmmaker and lecturer Bill Megalos.  These videos were designed to raise awareness on the components of a healthy diet, the importance of exclusive breast feeding, the nutrition needs of a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, and the way food should be prepared to ensure that vitamins and other nutrients are preserved.

“This workshop would not have been possible without the support of the World Food Programme”, says Bill Megalos at the close of the workshop. “They not only used their expertise on nutrition to provide training and materials to our participants, they also joined our group and worked closely on shaping the messages of each of the videos we produced.”

U.S. Ambassador to Laos Karen B. Stewart is convinced the PSAs can do their part in educating people and getting them to change bad nutrition habits. “With these films now available, maybe women will decide to breastfeed exclusively or eat more healthily during pregnancy – actions which can save a child’s life”, she says. 

All PSAs are available online and will reach Lao audiences through national television, cinemas nationwide and featured at film festivals.

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WFP Offices
About the author

Cornelia Paetz

Public Information Officer

Cornelia joined WFP in 2008. After four years in the WFP country office in Laos she is now based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She speaks German, English and French.

Prior to her position at WFP, Cornelia has worked for several small not-for-profit organisations in Germany and Australia.