Look around you, young people are everywhere! As students, professionals, caregivers, and active members of society, we are plugged into the heart of many grassroots movements, and breastfeeding should be no exception. It’s time for us to gear up and get the message out!
At the Global Breastfeeding Partners’ Forum in October 2010, the WABA Youth team was met with overwhelming support when we pledged our efforts to find new ways to communicate these timeless breastfeeding messages. We were inspired by pioneers who had dedicated their careers to research and advocacy, keeping in mind that their work is anchored in the concept of “paying it forward”. As new advocates, we have the power to use their strides to make the case for breastfeeding and reinforce the fact that it should be supported in our communities.
Why does breastfeeding matter to us? Is it the fact that formula companies are aggressively marketing their products to young families in order to raise their sales targets? Is it the fact that breastfeeding provides a household with financial stability and reduces the use of non-recyclable waste products? Is it also the fact that we will one day be faced with critical questions when we decide on how to feed our own children? The answer to these questions is Yes!
Now that we know the facts, what’s the challenge? Young people are easy to mobilize, but hard to sustain. Getting the information out is only half the battle. The rest relies on the use of this information. We want to feel energized and autonomous about a cause, and our power lies in action. The messages we share must continue to be compelling and innovative to reach a wider audience.
So where do we begin, and how do we create a message that resonates? What our team learned at the conference was the power of peer-to-peer dialogue. Hence, the inspiration for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme – Talk to Me! Young people want to make a difference in their communities, and sparking dialogue is the easiest way.
If you’re young and want to find out ways to jump-start breastfeeding outreach in your communities, please connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Facebook (Search “WABA Youth”) or Twitter (@WABAyouth).
If you’re an experienced professional and breastfeeding advocate and would like to mentor a young advocate, please email email@example.com