Developing strategies to end hunger
 

World Bank: We Will Nearly Triple Funding for Maternal/Child Nutrition

Photo for World Bank funding increase

Very young children, such as this Bolivian baby, have nutritional needs that cannot wait. Photo by Margaret W. Nea for Bread for the World.

The World Bank Group announced today that it will nearly triple funding for maternal and child nutrition programs, to $600 million in 2013-2014, up from $230 million in 2011-2012.

The World Bank Group will also add progress on stunting to the indicators on its Corporate Scorecard. And, noting the excellent progress of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) in responding to malnutrition, the Bank Group will increase its focus on integrating nutrition into agriculture activities.

“Globally, 165 million children under age 5 are stunted as a result of malnutrition. This is the face of poverty,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. “The UK government should be applauded for its leadership to scale up global investments in maternal and early childhood nutrition—one of the highest-return investments we can make to end poverty and promote shared prosperity.”

The announcement comes just before the "Nutrition for Growth" event, June 8 in London, and "Sustaining Political Commitments to Scaling Up Nutrition" hosted by Bread for the World and Concern Worldwide on June 10.

Also on the horizon is the annual G-8 summit, to be held this year in Northern Ireland in late June. G-8 events hold great potential to fight hunger and malnutrition; for example, GAFSP was created as a way to help fulfill the commitments made at the 2009 G-8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy. 

Scaling up nutrition,  cost-effective investments, establishing a stunting indicator, young children and pregnant women (the "1,000 Days"), linking agriculture and nutrition, L'Aquila -- these should sound familiar to Institute Notes readers. For several years now, Bread for the World has been championing increased investments in maternal and child nutrition, as well as supporting strategies -- such as increased collaboration between sectors such as nutrition and agriculture -- that make development assistance more effective.

How much will the new funding help? As Jim Yong Kim points out, a little money goes a long way in early childhood nutrition efforts. For example, during the food price crisis of 2008, World Bank Group commitments of less than $850 million enabled about 700,000 children to receive nutritional interventions and almost 300,000 pregnant and nursing women to receive nutritional supplements and education. And these were just two among several groups of beneficiaries of this same pot of money --  the others included 1.7 million people who worked in cash-for-work or food-for-work programs and 8.5 million farm households that received seeds and fertilizers. Michele Learner

 

« A Second Lancet Nutrition Series Identifies Elements of Effective Strategies New Nutrition Research Emphasizes Pregnancy and Pre-Pregnancy »

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