MASReP aims to increase access to nutritional services for children under-five years, by improving health services, availing more diverse and nutritious food, and improving knowledge, attitude and practices on feeding, care and hygiene.
The project will target forty districts or woredas in the country’s Amhara and Tigray regions, highlights African Development Fund.
Child malnutrition remains a significant development challenge in Ethiopia. In the project target area, nearly 50% of children under age 5 are afflicted by stunting.
A range of factors contribute to the prevalence of undernourishment, including low dietary diversity and poor access to clean drinking water.
To spearhead the initiative, the program has three programmatic components i.e., climate-proofed infrastructure development for effective service delivery; livelihood support, production and promotion of nutritious foods; and strengthening institutional systems and capacity building.
“With its strong emphasis on using a comprehensive package of systemic and mutually reinforcing multi-sectoral interventions to simultaneously address the multidimensional causes of stunting, the project will significantly contribute to building the grey matter infrastructure of the children in the target areas and lead to improved productivity in the future,” said Nnenna Nwabufo, Director General for the African Development Bank’s East Africa Region.
The project is also a demonstration of the Bank’s efforts to accelerate the implementation of its Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy as well as operationalize the African Nutrition Accountability Score Card (ANASC) launched in 2019.
The ANASC, a data driven advocacy tool, was developed by the African Leaders for Nutrition, an initiative of the African Development Bank, the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the African Union.
It also aligns to the Ethiopia’s Sequota Declaration (SD), signed in 2015 as a commitment to end stunting in children under two by 2030 under the leadership of the national ministries of health; agriculture, water, irrigation and energy; education; women, children and youth; labour and social affairs; transport; and finance.
This is strongly aligned with the African Development Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy 2013–2022 and two of its ‘High Five’ operational priorities seeking to ‘Feed Africa’ and ‘Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa’.
To further tackle the menace, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a Swiss-based foundation launched at the UN to tackle human suffering caused by malnutrition, has launched Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN) in Ethiopia, to foster availability and affordability of safe, nutritious food in the country.
SBN’s approach will include convening businesses around national nutrition priorities, building national and global partnerships to scale up investments in nutrition, and advocating for an enabling environment to promote business involvement in nutrition.
To this end the initiative will support small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in Ethiopia’s food sector by bringing businesses together, facilitate partnerships, build capacity, identify challenges, and support solutions.
Ethiopia in recent years has registered significant strides in addressing malnutrition in the last decade. Stunting declined from 58.0% to 38.4%, underweight from 41% to 23.6%, and wasting from 12.0% to 9.9% from 2000 to 2016.
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