MALAWI – The government of Ireland has joined the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in fight against malnutrition in Malawi, contributing EUR 550,000 (US$600,000).

The contribution, according to WFP will be used to promote access to quality nutrition and health services targeting 30,000 malnourished children, adolescents, and women.

Its focus will be on maternal, infant and child nutrition to reduce stunting and micronutrient deficiencies.

The backing will also be used to provide technical support to the Government of Malawi in establishing a National Nutrition Centre of Excellence.

The centre will be a national hub for evidence generation, knowledge sharing and information management for nutrition innovation.

“Nutrition is vitally important throughout a person’s life,”

Seamus O’ Grady – Ambassador, Embassy of Ireland in Malawi

In Malawi, malnutrition remains a serious challenge with 37% of the children affected by stunting while only 8% aged 6-23 months meet the minimum acceptable diet.

“Four of every 10 children are affected by chronic malnutrition. Ireland’s contribution will propel efforts to improve the quality of nutrition services for vulnerable children and women,” said Benoit Thiry, WFP Country Representative in Malawi.

The support comes at a time when the country is impacted by COVID-19 which is threatening the efforts to improve nutrition and health in the country.

“Nutrition is vitally important throughout a person’s life,” said Seamus O’ Grady, Ambassador, Embassy of Ireland in Malawi.

“The Government of Ireland is pleased to renew its commitment to support Malawi’s effort towards ending malnutrition especially at the subnational level (Neno District) and by reaching those further behind who in this case comprise of women and young girls,” he added.

Meanwhile, WFP has welcomed another a US$1.6 million contribution from the Government of Japan to provide much-needed food assistance to vulnerable people in the Central African Republic, amid a deepening humanitarian crisis.

Japan’s contribution will enable WFP to provide life-saving assistance to nearly 66,000 people in communities hard hit by the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the uptick in conflict following late-December elections.

‘’The socio-economic impact of COVID-19 has left more people unable to meet their basic food needs.

“WFP is grateful to the Government of Japan for this contribution, which comes amidst growing humanitarian needs due to recent post-electoral violence which uprooted hundreds of vulnerable people from their homes, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said WFP CAR Country Director, Peter Schaller.

An estimated 2.8 million people —more than half the country’s population—will need humanitarian assistance this year.

As the country’s longstanding conflict resurges, adding to the impact of COVID-19, more people risk falling into acute hunger without food assistance.

CAR is also facing serious food shortages, as violence cuts off the landlocked country’s traditional supply routes and leaves food convoys stranded outside its borders.

This is driving up prices of basic food commodities, with costs of staples like oil, meat, and onions up by more than 50 percent.

‘’Given the worsening humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic, Japan understands that more and more people are depending on the support and solidarity of the international community.

“We hope that this contribution from Japan will help WFP reach those affected by the crisis,’’ said Tsutomu Osawa, Ambassador of Japan to the Central African Republic.

WFP currently provides monthly food and nutrition assistance to some 800,000 people. Given the mounting needs, however, it urgently requires US$ 63.8 million to scale up and support nearly one million people over the next six months.

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