The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has committed to further support the multi-sectoral programme aimed at fighting chronic malnutrition in the most food insecure districts of Nyamagabe and Rutsiro located in south and western provinces respectively. The four UN agencies involved in the SDC-supported project are the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and WFP.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has committed an additional US$1.9 million to the One UN Joint Nutrition Programme, providing vital support to help Rwandan mothers and children avoid chronic undernutrition.
The contribution, channelled through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), will be used to purchase 1,437 metric tons of Super Cereal and Super Cereal Plus, which are foods fortified with vitamins and minerals and designed to prevent stunting and reduce malnutrition. The Swiss funding will allow WFP to provide this specialized nutritional support for more than 15,000 children, pregnant women and new mothers.
“To fight chronic malnutrition, eating energy-dense and nutrient-rich foods is essential for pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children aged under 2. Lack of such food seriously compromises children’s chances of reaching their full physical and intellectual potential,” said Jean-Pierre de Margerie, WFP’s Country Director in Rwanda.
The new Swiss contribution follows an earlier donation of US$3 million made by SDC to the One UN Joint Nutrition Programme, which started in 2013. This additional SDC contribution will further support the multi-sectoral programme aimed at fighting chronic malnutrition in Nyamagabe and Rutsiro districts. The four UN agencies involved in the SDC-supported project are the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and WFP.
WFP will distribute the specialized nutritious food, while FAO, UNICEF and WHO will intervene with other activities such as improving household food production and use, enriching and fortifying children’s diets, disseminating information on optimal nutrition practices and age-related dietary needs, and providing nutritional training to health officials.
“Nutrition projects are among the highest-impact development activities,” said SDC Regional Resident Director of Cooperation Giancarlo de Picciotto. “Given the multiple causes behind malnutrition, different yet well-coordinated interventions are needed. We appreciate different UN agencies working closely together; the ONE UN is best placed to pilot such a multi-sectoral approach by using agencies’ different expertise to capitilize on comperative advantages and build synergy.’’
The UN’s nutrition approach emphasizes treatment as well as prevention of malnutrition. It stresses the importance of good nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life, starting from the moment of conception and continuing until a child reaches the age of 2.
The ONE UN Joint Nutrition Programme is intended to pilot and model a multi-stakeholder approach to address the persistent issue of chronic malnutrition in Rwanda. Specifically, the programme hopes to reduce stunting rates by five percentage points per year. Lessons learned from the project will be used to inform and improve other nutrition activities in the country.