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Nutrition for Pregnant Women and Children

June 12, 2023

Enhanced nutrition through a gender-focused community-led approach across Africa, South Asia and Latin America launched in partnership with The Hunger Project and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Hunger Project and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have launched a Nutrition and WASH initiative to enhance sustainable nutrition for pregnant women and children under five years of age by distributing Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation and promoting Essential Nutrition Actions and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) across Africa, South Asia and Latin America.

The Hunger Project in partnership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched a gender-focused community-led global nutrition project to enhance sustainable nutrition for pregnant women and children under five years of age across seven countries in Africa, South Asia and Latin America (Bangladesh, Benin, Mexico, Mozambique, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia).

As part of our efforts to combat hunger and improve nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, this initiative is informed by a gender-focused community-led approach to achieve sustainable, self-reliant nutrition. This program will distribute vitamin supplements, Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation (MMS), for pregnant women and dietary supplement Micronutrient Powder (MNP), for children below the age of five complementing other efforts by The Hunger Project and in-country stakeholders to ensure healthy diets and nutrient absorption. The initiative will also promote Essential Nutrition Actions (ENAs), i.e. promote exclusive breastfeeding, education on how mothers can administer healthy diets for their children, food preparation, dietary diversity, and share knowledge on identifying and monitoring malnourished children.

Globally, chronic hunger is accompanied by specific micronutrient deficiencies. In sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and South Asia there is often a deficiency in vitamin A, zinc and iron. Micronutrient deficiency in children under five years of age results in stunting, anemia, and cognitive, sight and/or hearing impairments. In 2020, an estimated 22 percent of children under five years of age were stunted, 6.7 percent were underweight, and 5.7 percent were overweight globally. Through MMS and ENAs initiatives, the project will strengthen local communities to ensure full access to and absorption of micronutrients among children under five. In addition to these two nutrition interventions, water and sanitation training will be provided to promote access to clean water and sanitation.

Given that infectious diseases – particularly diarrheal diseases – can interfere with micronutrient absorption, the project will deliver community-based workshops to create public awareness on water, sanitation, and hygiene. Over 2 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water and over 1.7 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation facilities. This initiative will not only make an impact on health and nutrition, but will continuously seek knowledge from around the world to transform and build resilient communities and countries. 

Photo above: A mother has her son measured in Mexico, 2023; Photo for The Hunger Project