US$600m boost for global nutrition projects

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 13th June 2013

 THE World Bank Group said  it will nearly triple direct financing for maternal and early childhood nutrition programmes in developing countries in 2013-14 to US$600 million (K1.298 million), up from US$230 million in 2011-12. 

An estimated 90% of this new funding (US$540 million) will come from the International Development Association (IDA), the bank’s fund for the poorest countries. 

“Globally, 165 million children under the age of five are stunted as a result of malnutrition. 

“This is the face of poverty,” World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim said.

The projected increase is in addition to nutrition-sensitive investments the bank group is making in other sectors beyond health, such as agriculture, education, social protection and water and sanitation. 

Amid continuing global food price volatility, the Bank Group also announced that it would review agriculture activities with a view toward improving nutrition outcomes, and noted excellent progress through the global agriculture and food security programme, where more than half of all projects explicitly addressed under-nutrition. 

During the past decade from 2002-12, IDA helped at least 52 million vulnerable mothers and young children receive life-saving and life-changing nutrition services. 

In response to the food crisis, IDA fast-tracked US$836 million through the global food crisis response programme, offering cash-for-work programmes, seeds and fertilisers and food and other safety net support, while encouraging future resilience. 

Among the results in IDA countries: 

  • 923,000 children benefited from school feeding programmes; 
  • 293,000 pregnant and lactating women received nutritional supplements and education; 
  • 696,000 children received nutritional interventions; 
  • 1.7 million people were employed as part of cash or food-for-work programmes; 
  • 86,000 households benefited from cash transfer programmes; 
  • 244,000 people received food rations; and 
  • 8.5 million farm households received seeds and fertilisers.