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44 posts categorized "Asia"
Get ready. Next month Bread for the World and Concern Worldwide will team-up with other partners to celebrate the first 1,000 days of a global movement to make nutrition a key development goal. To update everyone on where our “Sustaining Political Commitments” event sits in “nutrition history,” we’ve put together an interactive timeline (above) that highlights some of the biggest moments since 2008. Use the side arrows to click through the slide-view, or click the "timeline" tab on the top left corner for a more linear perspective. Click on each event for videos, images, links, and a detailed description.
A lot has happened since September 2010, when developing countries founded the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement and donors—led by the United States, Ireland, and the United Nations—launched the 1,000 Days call to action to support it. What started as the recommendations of a scholarly series in a British medical journal has morphed into a global partnership. To date, 35 countries with high rates of maternal and child malnutrition have joined SUN. The movement has grown rapidly as governments and civil society leaders increasingly recognize the irreversible damage that early childhood malnutrition can inflict on whole generations—and conversely, the tremendous return on national investment in preventing this damage.
The 2013 Hunger Report is chock-full of stories on maternal and child nutrition, stunting, the 1,000 Day window, and the SUN movement. It’s all related to our recommendation for a bull’s-eye goal of ending mass hunger and extreme poverty by 2040.
Download the report at www.hungerreport.org to get the full story on Bread for the World’s recommendations regarding nutrition in the first 1,000 days.
Posted by Bread on May 20, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Assets for the Poor, Climate Change, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Aid, Food Prices, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Hunger Hotspots, Hunger Report, Immigration, Inequality, Latin America, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Millennium Challenge Account, Millennium Development Goals, Religion and Hunger, Trade, U.S. Hunger, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Good news for data nerds: The OECD has just released its latest disposable income, poverty and inequality numbers for all of its 34 member states. You can access the entire data set here, but don't miss the the fun interacive tools that were released along with it. OECD was kind enought to make them embeddable:
So what are the key stories in this beautifully arranged chart? You may not find them all that surprising:
- Poverty and inequality have grown in OECD countries since the global recession of 2007-2008.
- The United States still has greater-than-average inequality and relative poverty than the typical OECD country.
- The United States has less pre-tax/transfer poverty than most other countries.
- The overall OECD unemployment rate has eased slightly to 8.0%.
- Iceland, Slovenia, Norway and Denmark shared the lowest poverty rate of member countries, while Israel bore the highest at 21%.
This data release is well timed, just before the 39th G-8 summit to be held in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland between June 17-18. As member states gather to focus on shared global development goals like advancing trade, ensuring tax compliance, and promoting greater transparency, the OECD offers a humbling reminder that poverty, hunger, and inequality are on the rise across the developed world. A global committment to solving the poverty problem will require committment from all countries, regardless of income level. This is still everyone's problem.
Posted by Bread on May 16, 2013 in Asia, Assets for the Poor, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Prices, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Hunger Report, Inequality, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Millennium Challenge Account, Millennium Development Goals, Trade, U.S. Hunger, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
In my last blog I mentioned that we now know what malnutrition is and what to do to overcome it. Much has been written about the “1,000-day window of opportunity,” the period from a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday. A growing body of scientific evidence shows that malnutrition during this critical time can carry lifelong consequences for a person’s health, education and earnings. When chronic malnutrition affects a large number of people, it can even affect a country’s economy.
The better news is that interventions to prevent and treat malnutrition during the 1,000-day window are not only highly effective, but also great investments in development, with very high returns for every dollar invested. Since nutrition is an integral part of all development sectors, it is often referred to as being “cross-sectoral” in nature. It means that improving a person’s health, or education, or economic situation can have a positive, sustainable influence on malnutrition. Improving nutrition isn’t just about growing more food or having better access to food anymore.
So, if we know what malnutrition is and what actions are required to defeat it, and if we have shown that investing in nutrition is a smart thing to do, what is holding back “scaling up” nutrition on a global scale? The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement now includes 35 countries, all with high levels of malnutrition. Even though some SUN members are among the poorest countries in the world, every SUN country has committed political and financial resources to take action against malnutrition. Could it be that a country’s commitment to fighting hunger and malnutrition is what is important?
What if an index of a country’s commitment was available to help measure and motivate concerted action? The Institute of Development Studies in the United Kingdom, along with the British and Irish aid agencies, has produced just such an index, called the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI). Last year, the International Food and Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) noted in its Global Hunger Index that in recent years, progress in reducing hunger has been “worryingly slow.” The report found that in many developing countries, significant economic growth has not necessarily led to lower levels of malnutrition and hunger. Rather, a driving factor in making (or not making) progress on malnutrition seems to be a government’s political will (or lack thereof).
The Global Hunger Index treats efforts to reduce hunger and to reduce malnutrition as separate issues. Hunger is a key driver of migration, conflict, and gender discrimination. Malnutrition, the report found, can have different causes and consequences. It does not always come directly from hunger. One example of another cause is an impaired ability to absorb vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) due to disease.
So which countries are doing well according to the HANCI? The results indicate that Guatemala ranks at the top and Guinea Bissau (a small West African nation) at the bottom. The index provides an interesting set of information graphics that can be studied. Guatemala has made a substantial political commitment to improving access to clean drinking water, ensuring improved sanitation, promoting complementary feeding practices, and investing in health interventions. I’ve blogged previously about its “Zero Hunger Plan.” Guinea Bissau, on the other hand, has a low ranking because it has failed to invest in agriculture, leaving women in particular vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition; in addition, the country has not yet developed effective safety nets that can provide its citizens with a measure of food security.
In recent years, we’ve seen a truly incredible level of global momentum on nutrition. But how are the major donors doing when it comes to following through on their political commitments to ending hunger and malnutrition? Where would the United States, Canada, Australia, and the EU rank on the HANCI? Do these governments endorse policies and provide funding for programs that augment the efforts of the developing countries most affected by hunger, chronic food insecurity, and malnutrition?
A series of events in June 2013 will help answer these questions, indicating whether donor governments are “walking the walk” -- or just talking -- about their commitment to nutrition.
First, in London on June 8, the U.K. government will host the “Nutrition for Growth” event, during which governments will pledge specific monetary amounts to help scale up nutrition. Following this, during Bread’s National Gathering, we are hosting an event in Washington, DC, called “Sustaining Political Commitments to Scaling Up Nutrition”, to build on our very successful 2011 event. The Call to Action will bring 40 civil society representatives from SUN countries to discuss SUN’s next steps -- and what’s needed to carry them out -- with U.S. government officials, non-governmental organization nutrition stakeholders, and others, including Bread’s grassroots activists who will be in Washington, DC, for the National Gathering. Participants will be able to judge for themselves whether the U.S. government is “walking the walk” on its commitment to ending malnutrition, particularly among women and children.
Stay tuned to this space and the Bread for the World blog for more information.
Posted by Scott Bleggi on May 14, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Climate Change, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Aid, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Hunger Hotspots, Immigration, Latin America, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Millennium Development Goals, Religion and Hunger, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Developed and developing, north and south, rich and poor—these are some of the dichotomous terms we use to categorize a country's quality of life. Does any country, or any person, fit neatly into one category or another?
Increasingly, though, people are finding that development is more a continuum than an all-or-nothing condition, an up or down vote. Every country whether it’s been labeled “developed” or not, falls somewhere along that continuum. The 2013 Hunger Report acknowledged this point in its recommendation for continued universal ownership of goals after the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015. All countries face the same threats to their development to varying degrees.
The momentum behind this more inclusive way of looking at development and quality of life has been helped along by new concepts and tools. The old standards such as gross domestic product (GDP) or income per capita offer limited insight. Indices such as the Human Development Index (HDI) and the Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) point out the need for a more diverse set of indicators to complete the development picture, expanding it to include less obvious but equally important measurements like access to education, gender equality and greenhouse gas emissions.
Transparency is one of the more recent additions to the expanding development concept. It has only been a major priority of U.S. foreign assistance for a relatively short time. The Millennium Challenge Corporation only made “fighting corruption” an absolute requirement for funding recipients in 2002.
Short clip explains how Transparency International guages corruption and why it matters.
More recently, the push for open government has gained rapid momentum as citizens across the world discover promising new ways to track their leaders’ actions, their use of public resources, their campaign contributors, their vested interests in legislation, and more.
Organizations such as Transparency International and the Sunlight Foundation are leading a growing grassroots movement to open government data to public scrutiny. They’re ranking countries by degree of corruption, tracking political ad spending, and crowdsourcing to fill in missing information gaps. Perhaps most important, they’re collaborating internationally as they never have before. For example, Sunlight recently held its first Transparency Camp International, where members of civil society and government employees from 25 countries (of all income and “development” levels) gathered to join the global open government network and absorb the experiences and solutions of others.
The 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals, links open government and transparency to the end goal: good governance. “Improving governance is essential to progress on development,” it explains. “The corrosive effects of government corruption are just one example of how governance problems undermine progress. Good governance, on the other hand, is an enabling condition and a prerequisite to lasting change. Good governance includes many elements, but the most relevant for reducing poverty have to do with creating space for a strong civil society that can hold governments accountable for making progress; building effective institutions to manage and deliver public services; and respecting the rule of law—for example, by protecting the rights of minorities and ensuring that people have recourse to redress for injustices.”
“Most of the work to put these elements in place must be done by national governments and by civil society in developing countries. What the United States and other countries can do as a partner is set high expectations for levels of accountability and transparency. Additionally, they can provide technical know-how, strengthen global institutions that foster good governance, and support leaders who want to govern well. The United States itself must be an example of good governance and continue to work towards becoming more transparent and accountable.”
For more on the importance of transparency in the fight to end hunger, visit hungerreport.org.
Posted by Bread on May 13, 2013 in Africa, Asia, Assets for the Poor, Climate Change, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Prices, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Hunger Report, Inequality, Latin America, Millennium Challenge Account, Millennium Development Goals, Trade, U.S. Hunger, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
One of Bangladesh's main exports is fish. Photo credit: USAID.
Dr. Muhammed Yunus and the Grameen Bank are well-known pioneers of microfinance -- i.e., making modest loans to poor people that enable them to create sustainable improvements in their lives, largely by building small businesses. When Yunus founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983, the necessity of country-led development, let alone decision-making by poor people themselves, was not recognized. Lending a woman $75 to buy a sewing machine was a revolutionary concept.
Much has been written since then about the microfinance movement, its accomplishments, continuing debates, and more. Here, we emphasize one of Grameen's contributions to our understanding of global poverty: a very concrete definition that can help educate policymakers in donor countries about its realities and solutions.
In the United States, we tend to define poverty in terms of dollar income. So we readily understand the idea of an international poverty line -- originally $1 a day, now $1.25. Donors also realize that poverty has many implications for hunger, health, education, and other spheres. But the Grameen Bank recognized early on that poverty occurs in a context, and that communities themselves must determine who is poor and what it means to leave poverty.
Yunus and Grameen developed a checklist of 10 indicators that gauge whether a microfinance participant and her family have, in fact, escaped from poverty in Bangladesh. It's a helpful counterbalance to our sometimes abstract notions of who "the poor" are and what their priority needs might be. The specifics are:
- The family home has a tin roof or is valued at 25,000 taka or more (about $300-$325). Each member of the family sleeps in a bed rather than on the floor.
- The family drinks clean water -- either from wells, or boiled, or purified using arsenic-free tablets.
- All children age 6 or older are either going to school or have finished primary school.
- The microloan is being repaid in installments of at least 200 taka a week (about $2.50).
- The family uses a sanitary latrine.
- Family members have adequate everyday clothing, warm clothing for winter (such as sweaters and blankets), and mosquito nets.
- The family has a source of additional income, such as a vegetable garden or fruit trees, that they can fall back on when necessary.
- The microloan borrower maintains an average savings account balance of 5,000 taka (about $60-$65).
- The family has no difficulty providing each member with three square meals a day throughout the year.
- The family can afford necessary medical treatment if someone falls ill.
Grameen's indicators proved to be a reliable way of identifying those most in need and gauging their progress. Later, the indicators were broadened to form the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI). The PPI uses similar data -- including what material a family's roof is made of -- to enable development organizations to calculate how likely it is that a given family lives below the national poverty line. So far, PPIs have been tailored to conditions in 45 countries.
couple of weeks ago, Yunus was here in Washington, DC, to receive
the Congressional Gold Medal. Along with the Presidential Medal of
Freedom, it is the highest American award for civilians. In 2006, Yunus and Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Price. Both have clearly made major contributions to Bangladesh's significant progress against hunger. For more on how that progress is being sustained, see the introduction to the 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals.
Michele Learner is associate editor for Bread for the World Institute.
By Anna Wiersma
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were proposed at the Rio+20 Summit in 2012 as one way to extend the work of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) beyond 2015. The SDGs are intended to compensate for the lack of focus on climate change, biodiversity loss, and other environmental problems missing from the MDG framework. Table 3.1 shows the proposed SDG focus areas alongside the existing MDGs.
The proposed SDG framework includes both opportunities and challenges for anti-poverty efforts. With any expansion of goals comes the risk of losing clarity and ocus. Each of the MDGs has a direct link to the goal of ending poverty. The proposed SDG focus areas do not include important ways of ﬁghting poverty—ways that go beyond simply providing food—such as education, empowering women, improving child and maternal health and nutrition, and ﬁghting HIV/AIDS.
In spite of these concerns, elements of the SDG agenda could well enhance future anti-poverty efforts. Climate change affects poor people disproportionately, and feeding a rapidly rising global population will require more sustainable forms of agriculture.
Expanding the post-2015 development agenda to address the urgent problems posed by climate change and the need for sustainable food production should not come at the cost of losing the focus on key health, education, and equality issues or the overall clear anti-poverty message. Finding a balance that includes both these essential elements of the MDGs and the essentials of the SDG agenda is the challenge, particularly with numerous stakeholders already vying to shape the SDG agenda and the relationship between the SDGs and MDGs. But just as the MDGs brought global attention to the ﬁght against poverty, the SDGs could serve as a platform for the need to act on climate change.
Anna Wiersma is a senior at Valparaiso University in Indiana pursuing a degree in international economics and cultural affairs. She was a summer 2012 intern in Bread for the World’s government relations department.
This exerpt is borrowed from the 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals. Visit hungerreport.org to learn more about the MDGs, sustainable development, and the post-2015 agenda.
This is not to say, of course, that leaders in South Korea (and around the world) are or should be taking the threats lightly. But wider South Korean society now regards the North’s public pronouncements and brinksmanship tactics with more pity than fear. This shift in broader perception accompanies South Korea’s transformation from one of the poorest countries in the world in the 1950s to a leading developed economy today. It makes the contrast with North Korea’s widespread poverty and hunger all the more stark.
Hunger in North Korea is rampant. In 2011, 32 percent of the population didn’t always know where their next meals were coming from. Nearly one in five children was underweight, and one in three was stunted (that’s largely irreversible cognitive damage to 1/3 of children). The statistics are, sadly, amply illustrated by story after heart-wrenching story of famine, attempts to flee the country, and even cannibalism. Meanwhile, only miles away, South Korea has beaten back hunger to the level s of an industrialized country. The country was recently ranked just after the United Kingdom in food security – it’s the 21st most food secure nation in the world.
The existence of two very different Koreas is one of the strongest pieces of evidence in today’s world for Bread’s argument that hunger is not necessary. It is a choice made by national policy makers.
The 2013 Hunger Report includes a short account of the inspiring South Korean story and the lessons it taught the world about how country-led development and true partnership work:
South Korea’s transformation from one of the poorest countries in the world in the 1950s to a member of the OECD by the 2000s makes it a powerful symbol of the potential impact of effective aid. For decades, the United States, Japan, and other donors provided Korea with a steady stream of financial support and equally significant assistance in capacity building. Between 1962 and 1971, for example, 7,000 Koreans received training abroad, and from this group have come many of the country’s leaders in government, business, and academia.
The South Korean government and the United States did not always agree on the conditions attached to U.S. assistance. The Korean government wanted to focus on large-scale economic infrastructure, while the United States favored building up small and medium-size enterprises. It rejected the government’s request for financing a road project to connect the main port at Busan with the country’s major population centers, so the government spent a quarter of the entire national budget to build the road itself. Seven years after its completion, South Korea’s national income had quadrupled. Thus, it was particularly appropriate for the December 2011 Fourth High-Level Meeting on Aid Effectiveness to be held in Busan, Korea. Busan is now one of the busiest port cities in the world, and its success demonstrates why country-led development should be more than a slogan.
Precise, complete, and up-to-date data. Everyone working on hunger policy knows how important it is. In fact, access to it would be a dream come true. Instead of wishing after the fact that we could have done more to prevent or at least mitigate hunger crises large and small, chronic malnutrition in the 1,000-day window before a child’s second birthday, and the micronutrient deficiencies that cause conditions such as rickets and intellectual disabilities, we would have the information available in time to “do something.”
We’re getting closer to that dream, thanks to ever-expanding global networks and the rapid progress of real-time communication technologies. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), arguably the most comprehensive and reliable source of international hunger and food security data, has just unveiled a promising new hunger tracking tool — perhaps its first true hunger tracking tool — which uses the new technology to speed up the collection of accurate data. FAO calls it the Voices of the Hungry Project. The name fits, since the goal is to lend a far more sensitive and responsive ear to people living with hunger.
Even at FAO, existing hunger data collection and analysis methods take as long as two or three years to bring accurate data from its source to world attention. By then it is often too late to respond effectively. Most FAO food consumption surveys are administered only every five years, and they don’t always include individual-level responses.
Twitter was all abuzz over FAO's new tool. Bread for the World Institute was talking about it too.
The Voices of the Hungry Project will select representative samples of 1,000 to 5,000 people per country, depending on the national population. Individuals will be asked to answer eight questions to gauge the depth and frequency of any food insecurity they experienced in the previous year. More specifically, the questions measure whether respondents are experiencing mild, moderate, or severe food insecurity on a “Food Insecurity Experience Scale.”
Respondents are asked to indicate whether, in the past 12 months, there was a time when, because of lack of money or other resources:
1. You were worried you would run out of food.
2. You were unable to eat healthy and nutritious food.
3. You ate only a few kinds of foods.
4. You had to skip a meal.
5. You ate less than you thought you should.
6. Your household ran out of food.
7. You were hungry but did not eat.
8. You went without eating for a whole day.
The survey results will be available in days rather than years, allowing FAO to take an almost real-time snapshot of a nation's food security situation.
Chapter 1 of Bread for the World Institute’s 2013 Hunger Report delineates the high costs of delayed data collection. It tells the story of FAO’s struggle to accurately track rising hunger and food insecurity during and after the food price crisis of 2008-2009. The data was not made available until a year or more after the crisis began. Moreover, some of it was later discovered to be significantly inaccurate.
The effectiveness of nutrition programs, the credibility of statements about progress or lack of progress on hunger, and the integrity of broader development initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) depend on reliable data. Measurable, accurate results provide the crucial backing to show whether a proposed solution is likely to work. FAO’s Voices of the Hungry Project will help get the facts about who is hungry out in a faster, more accurate way.
more about the food price crisis of 2008-2009, changing data collection
methods, and the MDGs in chapter one of the 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach:
Global Development Goals.
Although each of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is important, some include more specifics than others. MDG 3 is to "promote gender equality" -- quite a sweeping task-- but its specific targets and indicators focus mainly on gender parity in education (at all levels -- primary, secondary, and tertiary) and a related indicator, the ratio of literate women to men in the age group 15 to 24. It's clear that education for girls is critically important and leads to improvements both in women's own lives and those of their children. By itself, though, gender parity in education is not enough to achieve gender equality.
Yet gender equality is not only a core development objective, it is also smart economics. Empowered women and men can improve a society's productivity, offer their children greater opportunities, and make institutions more representative. It benefits everyone.
Bread for the World Institute's 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals emphasizes both the intrinsic value and instrumental value of gender equality. Today, we know that removing barriers that prevent women from having the same access as men to education, economic opportunities, and productive inputs can generate broad based productivity gains -- gains all the more important in an increasingly competitive society. Additionally, leveling the playing field so that women and men have equal chances to actively engage socially and politically -- to make decisions and shape policies -- is likely to lead over time to more representative, and more inclusive institutions and policy responses.
Staggering evidence based on the upcoming 2012 Global Food Policy Report of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) reveals that almost 55 percent of the reduction in hunger from 1970 to 1995 can be attributed to improvements in women’s status in society. Additionally, it is estimated that global malnutrition could be reduced by 12 percent to 17 percent if gender barriers were eliminated and women farmers were able to match the yields of male farmers.
It is true that the lives of girls and women have changed dramatically over the past 50 years. While the pace of change has been astonishing in some areas, in other areas, progress toward gender equality has been limited — even in developed countries.
What is also becoming increasingly clear is that income growth by itself does not deliver greater gender equality on all fronts. In fact, where gender gaps have closed quickly, it is because of how institutions and markets — both formal and informal—have functioned and evolved, how growth has played out, and how all these factors have interacted through household decisions. For example, how has the global progress in girls' education come about? A combination of factors -- income growth (which loosens budget constraints), markets (which open new employment opportunities for women), and formal institutions (which expand school systems and lower costs) -- came together in a broad range of countries to influence household decisions in favor of educating girls and young women.
So is women's empowerment important? Yes -- in order to achieve the MDGs, we must redouble our commitment to support women and girls in achieving their full potential. We need to prioritize MDG 3 alongside the other seven goals.
Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do-- Johann Wolfgang
International Women’s Day on March 8 kicked off a conversation about the progress being made in improving nutrition among vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and young children. For good reason, much of the U.S. development assistance for nutrition is focused on the 1,000-day “window of opportunity” from a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday. Improvements in nutrition during this period can benefit children for a lifetime.
But “breaking the cycle” of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition is difficult for structural, economic, political, and social reasons. Poorly nourished women are more likely to give birth to low birth weight babies who often do less well in school and suffer lifelong health problems. The cycle continues when this generation has its own babies, particularly among girls who give birth when they are still at too young an age. In many countries this cycle has continued for generations, especially among vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities and those who live in remote, hard to reach areas. During my visit last year to Bangladesh, I saw some of these problems but I also noticed signs that the situation is improving. Two factors that are helping are better educational opportunities for girls and women, and a trend toward smaller families. Fewer children generally means more food and better nutrition – it’s more likely that there will be enough food left over for a youngest daughter, even in cultures where men, boys, and older girls eat first.
In South Asia, many women and girls are chronically ill due to a lack of proper nutrition. There are several contributing factors: poverty; lack of proper health care; malnutrition early in life, which leaves its survivors more susceptible to disease; lack of nutritional knowledge; and patriarchal family structures that may relegate girls and women to eating only whatever is left over or primarily less nutritious foods. Ambassador David Lane, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture, recently mentioned the “3 A’s” that affect both the quantity and quality of food consumption. These are availability of a nutritious and diverse supply of food, access to it (it’s better not to be that youngest daughter), and absorption of vitamins and minerals. He called for a multisectoral strategy to find solutions in these three areas.
The impact of all the various factors that make young women likely to be malnourished and chronically ill come to a head during pregnancy -- one of the most vulnerable times in a person’s life. About 60 percent of South Asian women in their childbearing years are underweight due partly to a lack of proper nutrition during their own childhoods. Also, eight out of 10 South Asian women are anemic (lack iron) during pregnancy, and many suffer from chronic energy deficit (lack of sufficient calories).
A lack of adequate nutritional knowledge is a big contributor to malnutrition, carrying with it the risk of improper cooking methods, poor hygiene, and too little variety in the diet. Also a major contributor is a lack of resources to prepare food using safe water and to purchase and consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, and protein-rich foods. Development assistance programs that recognize the important role of nutrition in various sectors, such as agriculture, health, and gender, offer countries an opportunity to educate families so that the cycle of malnutrition can be broken rather than repeated.