The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) yesterday welcomed a US$500,000 contribution from the Government of Japan to support its efforts to fight malnutrition among children and nursing mothers in Sierra Leone.
This donation follows the previous donation of $500,000 by Japan in August 2013 in support of scaling-up nutrition efforts.
“I would like to express thanks and appreciation to the government of Japan for this generous contribution which will enable WFP to respond to the nutritional needs of vulnerable mothers, children in Sierra Leone especially during the rainy season when cases of malnutrition are usually higher,” said WFP Representative, Gon Myers.
Japan has consistently demonstrated strong commitment, leadership and investment in improving the nutrition of vulnerable mothers and children. Children’s physical and intellectual development can be irreversibly damaged if they do not receive proper nutrition during the first 1,000 days (from conception until a child reaches two years of age).
The partnership includes collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in enhancing supportive supervision and supplementary feeding programme. WFP and JICA will complement each other in training, delivery of health services, supplementary feeding and livelihoods in order to enhance the impact. Working in close partnership, WFP can proactively move to prevent under nutrition from taking root.
In Sierra Leone, WFP’s programme supports the Government of Sierra Leone in the implementation of its Agenda for Prosperity (AfP), which is the Poverty Reduction Strategy (2013-2018).
WFP is also partnering with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on issues of health, well-being and nutritional status of adolescent girls and women particularly during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Japan’s contribution will be used to purchase nutritionally-enhanced blended food, which will be provided to children under five and pregnant and nursing mothers, as part of WFP’s on-going nutrition programmes.
An estimated 165 million children suffer from stunting globally. In Sierra Leone, according to the 2013 Demographic and Health Survey, the stunting rate among children under the age of five is 37.9 percent nationally but exceeds the critical threshold of 40 percent in four districts. Stunting is caused mainly by insufficient nutrition during the crucial first 1,000 days of life, which leads to a person’s physical and cognitive development being reduced, in turn diminishing their future productivity and earning capacity. Proper nutrition is therefore essential in nurturing the next generation and increasing the national incomes of developing countries.
Credit: WFP Sierra Leone