Rachel Morrison is the Jamaica and Barbados country coordinator for the Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s Obesity Prevention Program.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an in-country coordinator?

We build coalitions of key stakeholders to advocate for healthy food policies.  Our diverse group of partners brings together different perspectives and strengths, which is a tremendous benefit. Reaching consensus can also be a challenge.

What is the biggest change that has directly resulted from a campaign you worked on?

I was really happy to see that the beverage companies that oppose healthy food policy solutions felt threatened by the “Are You Drinking Yourself Sick?” campaign in Jamaica.  The message had a big enough impact that a major drink company stole one of the campaign slogans. In Jamaica, imitation is the biggest form of flattery, so when the company started using the slogan “Choose Juice,” based on our slogan “Choose Water Instead,” we knew people were listening.  In public health campaigns, it’s easy to feel that industry has the upper hand because of their extensive resources, so seeing that our message was reaching people was inspiring.

What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I am extremely organized in how I order my work tasks.  Every day, I make a list and prioritize tasks based on importance and timelines.  When planning activities, I like to think through different execution methods and to build a schedule.  My work style is in direct contrast to my personal life, where I plan nothing in advance and live for last-minute adventures.

What are some unique considerations to developing advocacy campaigns in small island countries?

Most big, international food and beverage companies work through distributors and smaller, local businesses brands.  Some of them may also have healthy products.  So, we have to do our research and think carefully about who we’re partnering with and who we can work with.

Another feature of the region is the importance of direct, one-on-one engagement with ministers of parliament and other policymakers.  In other countries, publicly calling out officials may yield results, but in the Caribbean, direct discussion usually gets you further.

Latest News

GHAI DP Viet Nam Flooding school
March 01, 2024
Local Ownership of Drowning Prevention Initiatives in Nghe An Province, Vietnam

Located in the Central Region of Vietnam, Nghe An province has a dense network of rivers and many large streams, interwoven between mountain ranges. Flooding o…

Immunization Kids hero image min
February 27, 2024
Seeking Proposals from Zambia for Advocacy for Immunization & Primary Health Care Financing

The Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) is seeking proposals for our new project in Zambia, Civil Society Organization (CSO) Advocacy for Immunization …

PE Ghana PHEF Proposal Workshop 02 Feb2023 2
February 26, 2024
Inviting Applications for Health Security Budget Advocacy Academy for Civil Society Organizations

The Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) is inviting applications from civil society organizations (CSOs) from across Africa with a special emphasis…