Australia Awards South and West Asia recently took another step towards strengthening its alumni engagement by introducing the Australia Awards Nepal Alumni Forum.
In recognition of the contribution towards the development of Nepal that Australia Awards alumni are making as influencers, innovators and leaders, the monthly Forum offers a platform to share their expertise and experiences and foster linkages among the Australia Awards alumni community in Nepal.
The Forum was launched recently with an event in Kathmandu. This first meeting of the Forum focused on the theme ‘Nutrition’, which is a growing concern in Nepal today. The participating alumni shared their experiences and ideas, shedding light on different dimensions of the topic, including policy provisions and implementation challenges. Australia Awards alumna Sophiya Uprety, a public health nutritionist by training, delivered an informative and interactive presentation on the topic Good Nutrition for a Better Life. Reflecting on the expertise gained through her academic training and professional experience, Sophiya highlighted pertinent nutritional issues and gave tips on propernutrition.
According to a 2017 World Health Organization (WHO) report, six of the top ten global causes of death are non-communicable diseases, with heart disease being the overall most common cause of death. “This is a serious nutritional concern because these diseases are directly related to our food habits,” Sophiya pointed out. “Food habits are changing owing to urbanization, globalisation, lifestyle changes and lack of awareness. Children are more vulnerable to this because they are easily influenced by the advertisements that they watch on TV.” Sophiya also stressed the need for multiple approaches to fixing these complex issues.
“Nepal, by tradition, is very rich in terms of nutritious food; we have a range of native grains, legumes and vegetables that have great nutritional values. We can consume them over junk food”
– Sophiya Uprety
Sophiya is among the many alumni of the Australia Awards Scholarships program making a difference in Nepal. She pursued a Master of Public Health from Deakin University in 2007 under the Australian Government’s Endeavour Awards program and a Bachelor of Food Science and Nutrition in 2000 under an Australia Awards Scholarship. She has worked for almost 15 years in the field of nutrition with different organisations, including UNICEF, WFP, UNHCR and briefly with FAO. She feels that it is her social responsibility to raise awareness on nutrition and frequently shares her knowledge through her blog, ‘Embrace Good Nutrition’. Sophiya also delivers speeches on nutrition in different forums. She believes that the Australia Awards Nepal Alumni Forum will provide an excellent platform for like-minded scholars to interact and discuss ways in which they can make a difference in the community in an effective manner.
Sophiya was an Endeavour Alumni Excellence Award winner in 2012, and was awarded Deakin University’s Young Alumni of the Year in 2015.
The Australia Awards Nepal Alumni Forum is a monthly forum for Australia Awards alumni in Nepal. If you are interested in participating or delivering a presentation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.