For the Graça Machel Trust and its work, the right to nutrition for women and children is inter-related because lack of adequate nutrition is a key contributor to unacceptably high levels of both maternal and child mortality, stunting and therefore the loss of human capital for the overall economic, social and political development in the Africa region. The right to nutrition for all people 365 days a year is therefore not only a women’s and children’s rights issue, but also a development issue for the continent.
Access to adequate nutrition forms the bedrock of an educated, healthy and productive society. In Africa, lasting effects on the cognitive and physical development of the African child and their families has led to the stunted development of societies. To ensure that nutrition is placed high on the agenda – to ultimately end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture in Africa, the Nutrition Programme engages in advocacy for nutrition as a developmental priority.
The Trust is also actively involved in the global movement for Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN). The movement unites various, multisector stakeholders and drives a collective effort to improve nutrition. Within the various countries where we operate, our main aim is to establish networks that build up the capacity of local civil society organisations to drive the nutrition agenda forward.
Our work in health and nutrition contributes to 3 main sustainable development goals (SDGs):
Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
KEY FOCUS AREAS
Good nutrition is important to the progress of Education, Health, Employment, Women’s Empowerment, and in Ending Poverty and Reducing Inequality. Women’s advancement is critical to ending malnutrition.
Why does nutrition matter?
The right nutrients for both mother and baby in the first 1,000 days from conception to the second birthday set the stage for physical, emotional and intellectual development for that child’s entire life.
The first 1 000 days
Good nutrition in the 1 000 days throughout a woman's pregnancy and up to a child's 2nd birthday sets a solid foundation for all the days of life that follow.
Improving nutrition during the first 1,000 days after conception is recognised as being one of the best and most cost-effective investments that can be made to achieve lasting progress in global health and development.
Small steps for both mother and child – proven to be effective – can make a big difference collectively. These include promoting early and exclusive breastfeeding; educating mothers about health and diverse diets for their babies and good hygiene practices.
Malnutrition is a global issue that affects one out of every three people, and the number 1 driver for the global burden of disease. A child with severe acute malnutrition is nine times more likely to die from common infections (e.g. malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea).
Undernutrition puts children at far greater risk of death and severe illness due to common childhood infections, such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, HIV/AIDS and measles.
Undernutrition leaves nearly four in ten children in Sub-Saharan Africa with under-developed brains and bodies.
An estimated 20 per cent of stunting begins in the womb, when a mother is malnourished and is not getting enough of the nutrition she needs to support her baby’s growth and development during pregnancy.
Invest In Nutrition
Studies have found that malnutrition reduces gross domestic product by anywhere between three to sixteen per cent. Malnutrition undermines economic growth and perpetuates poverty, and its human costs are enormous.
Eliminating undernutrition in young children can boost GNP by 11 per cent in Africa
Investing in ending malnutrition is one of the most cost-effective steps governments can take: every $1 invested in proven nutrition programs offers benefits worth $16.
Collect the right data to maximize investments, data gaps are a significant roadblock to nutrition progress throughout the world!
Tackle malnutrition in all its forms
There are no short cuts. Governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and individuals need to increase the efficiency of their investments and policies by identifying and implementing double-duty actions that tackle more than one form of malnutrition simultaneously
Stats obtained from