AFRICA – UNITLIFE, the United Nations initiative dedicated to fighting chronic malnutrition through innovation, and the Ecobank Group’s Foundation, the pan-African banking group with operations in 33 countries across the continent have launched the “Make the Connection” campaign, which aims to raise awareness and funds to prevent chronic malnutrition in Africa.
According to the agency, 144 million children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition worldwide. The prevalence is highest in Africa, where as many as 24 African countries have rates above 30%.
This means 1 in 3 African children do not eat a diet that meets their nutrient needs during the first 1,000 days of their lives. As a result, they face life-long consequences affecting their physical growth, cognitive development and immune systems.
The Standing Together for Nutrition Consortium projects that an estimated 1.2 million additional children in Sub-Saharan Africa will be stunted in 2022 compared to 2019 due to interruptions in nutrition services and increased household poverty.
“It is imperative that we shine more light on chronic malnutrition in these challenging times. UNITLIFE is excited to partner with the Ecobank Foundation to raise awareness and funds to fight this disease.”Assia Sidibe – Head of UNITLIFE Secretariat
The disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to countries’ health systems and the global economy have exacerbated the malnutrition crisis in Africa.
Nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, fruit and animal-sourced foods have become less accessible and less affordable for millions of families.
“Everywhere in Africa, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a disastrous effect on people’s income and ability to access nutritious foods.
“It is imperative that we shine more light on chronic malnutrition in these challenging times. UNITLIFE is excited to partner with the Ecobank Foundation to raise awareness and funds to fight this disease,” says Assia Sidibe, Head of UNITLIFE Secretariat.
Ecobank is supporting the communication efforts of the campaign and bringing the necessary expertise to set-up the fundraising mechanisms.
Carl Manlan, Chief Operating Officer, Ecobank Foundation explains, “At the Foundation, our aim is to create a positive impact on the lives of people across Africa. Supporting UNITLIFE helps us achieving our mission. We are glad we can contribute to allowing a healthier and more prosperous future for children in Africa.”
The “Make the connection” campaign stands in line with the ongoing global effort to mobilise additional resources for development and contributes to the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, especially SDG2 “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.”
Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) has announced it would reduce food assistance to refugees living in Rwanda by 60 percent, starting from March 2021, if nothing is done to address the decline in funding.
The move will affect 135,000 Burundian and Congolese refugees in camps in Rwanda who rely on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic food needs each month.
According to a press release from the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, tackling global hunger, ration reductions are likely to cause widespread food insecurity and potentially lead to increased tensions within the refugee community.
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