A pivotal one-day workshop held on March 8, 2024, in Islamabad

Following successful collaborations with universities nationwide, Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA) recently joined forces with young journalists to communicate essential practices of social cause-based media advocacy with a focus on food safety, particularly on the regulations and elimination of trans-fats. The workshop aligned with the broader objectives of the TRANSFORM Pakistan campaign, regulating industrially produced trans-fatty acids (iTFAs) across all foods, and it marks a significant stride forward in achieving the campaign’s overarching goal.

A pivotal one-day workshop, held on March 8, 2024, in Islamabad, saw the enthusiastic participation of 20 young journalists from various media outlets. The esteemed Mr. Zarrar Khuhro facilitated the workshop to equip 20-25 influencers and young journalists with the knowledge, skills, and strategies necessary for effective advocacy. “Media advocacy is the strategic use of mass media to advance public policy initiatives. It is rooted in community advocacy and aims to promote healthy public policies”, said Zarrar Khuhro while addressing young journalists.

Mr. Munawar Hussain, the In-Country Coordinator in Pakistan for the Food and Nutrition program at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), led an important session on a comprehensive overview of the iTFA landscape in Pakistan. “iTFAs are the primary cause of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), with 29% of deaths in Pakistan linked to cardiovascular diseases, and the country has the highest diabetes prevalence, affecting 42 million people. The presence of iTFAs in common food items poses a severe threat to public health”, shared Munawar Hussain during his session.

These introductory sessions set the tone for the day, followed by in-depth discussions to understand media advocacy and analyze best practices for crafting compelling media messages. 

Dr Zaffar Mehmood, a Food and Safety Specialist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations shared his insights and provided invaluable perspectives to the participants. “Media can play a crucial role in shaping successful campaigns for public health. It is also important to approach social cause-based advocacy with a heightened sense of responsibility and purpose, considering the intricate challenges and opportunities within food regulation”, said Dr Zaffar during his closing remarks.

With a successful media advocacy workshop and collaboration with youth, PYCA remains committed to nurturing a generation of informed and empowered advocates to achieve the goal of the TRANSFORM Pakistan campaign. 


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