Prioritizing Maternal and Childhood Nutrition

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An expert panel of Nobel laureate economists known as the Copenhagen Consensus met in May 2012 to set priorities for solving the world’s greatest challenges. After extensive research and consultation, they determined that the single best investment the world could make to advance health and prosperity would be to fight malnutrition in young children. The consensus: tackling malnutrition is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes economic sense. Research showed that for every $1 invested in nutrition, as much as $138 in better health and increased productivity is generated.

This consensus comes at a time when new scientific data has revealed the vital importance of good nutrition during the first 1,000 days (from the first day of a woman’s pregnancy to the child’s second birthday) as a crucial window for developing a child’s cognitive capacity and physical growth. Evidence shows that the right nutrition during the 1,000 days window can achieve lasting progress in global health and development: saving more than one million lives each year; reducing the human and economic burden of diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS; improving an individual’s education achievement and earning potential; and increasing a country’s GDP by at least 2-3 percent annually.

What We Do

In 2011, The Hunger Project's Global Board set integrating action for nutrition in the 1,000-day window as a top strategic priority in all our programs. The Hunger Project is deeply committed to ensuring that our programs leverage this opportunity.

  • We are working to ensure that our village partners have access to operational health centers that provide antenatal services, safe deliveries, education on breastfeeding and maternal and child nutrition, and child health monitoring. In Africa, such services are provided at our epicenters in partnership with local government (read more about our Epicenter Strategy). In South Asia and Latin America, this entails awareness-building and training as well as the facilitation of improved partnerships with local government to ensure access to resources like government-provided health centers for those that need them.
  • Throughout our programs, education and food security programs now incorporate 1,000 day nutrition awareness and training utilizing the Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) framework (read the booklet on the 7 Essential Nutrition Actions). For example, in Malawi, we have launched a project to conduct awareness campaigns on safe motherhood, carry out vaccination campaigns targeting children under five years old, and train mother-to-mother (M2M) support groups on safe motherhood and nutrition.
  • Around the world, THP Country Directors and Global Leadership play active roles in the 1,000 Days global initiative, the United Nations Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) initiative and other global and national nutrition advocacy forums.

    The Hunger Project has been involved in the formulation of and has been an active leader in the 1,000 Days global initiative, which was launched in September 2010 by Hillary Clinton (watch her remarks where she thanks The Hunger Project along with our partner organizations for our role in establishing the thousanddays.org website as a unified hub on nutrition issues).

    The SUN Movement is a country-led, global effort to advance health and development through improved nutrition. The Hunger Project is an endorsing civil society organization, committed to working together to support, to encourage and to mobilize robust action and necessary resources to scale up nutrition. Read the statement.

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