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Sonia Blaney

Sonia Blaney 128x180I am from a little village located in the north part of the Quebec province of Canada. My interest in nutrition started when I was a child and was seeing a lot of malnutrition on the only channel of our family TV. At this point, I decided that I would work in nutrition in countries where support was needed and where just a few people wanted to go.

In 1992, when I started my nutrition work in Guinea-Bissau as a volunteer with very limited resources, rapidly, I realized that ‘public nutrition works’ with few resources. It brings results and was not only theory. However, key factors for success were to adopt a multisectoral approach and vision and really engage and partner with communities and other relevant stakeholders. I also became conscious how communities and families were linked to their environment for their subsistence. Few years later, as a nutritionist, I started working for the World Wildlife Fund in Africa and dedicated my work to ensure that the right to food, to nutrition and to health was fulfilled for populations living in, or on the borders of, protected areas.

Then, I decided to go back home to undertake a Ph.D. in international nutrition under the supervision of two wonderful and highly dedicated people, Micheline Beaudry and Michael Latham. The subject of my thesis was the assessment of the relationship between the use of natural resources, food security and nutritional status of a population living in a protected area. While working at the same time as a programme manager for a project on health and nutrition implemented in several countries of Africa, I finalised my thesis after a period of eight years.

Upon the completion of my thesis, I went back to WWF and to Africa. A few years later, I joined UNICEF in Indonesia where I worked with passion in a new nutrition environment that is full of challenges and opportunities. Currently, my attention is mainly dedicated to ensure that all resources in nutrition at different levels are coordinated and aims to achieve a common goal which is the improvement of maternal and child nutrition in partnership with all relevant stakeholders.