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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


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
Global Nutrition Report 2016
The economics of reducing malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa
World Health Assembly
World Health Organization 2016
The cost of hunger report www.thecostofhungerafrica.com


Fred Swaniker v2 


The Graça Machel Trust has maintained its support of the Partnership for Nutrition in
Tanzania (PANITA), a network of over 300 civil society organisations. A key focus for the organisation during 2015 was to
mobilise additional resources to sustain its operations and become an independent organisation.

In addition, the Trust worked closely with PANITA to conduct a nutrition advocacy workshop for regional commissioners from six regions, namely Iringa, Katavi,
Mbeya, Njombe, Rukwa and Ruvuma. As a result, PANITA was invited to work with some of the districts in these regions as they planned their nutrition activities and budgets for the 2016/2017 financial year.
This regional engagement was a major factor in building confidence of other donors in PANITA and helped to
secure funds that have allowed PANITA to become fully independent. PANITA is now an independent, credible entity and has become a model nutrition alliance in the region.


Fred Swaniker v2 


In August 2015, the Graça Machel Trust and RESULTS supported the Civil Society Nutrition Organisations Alliance (CSONA) in hosting a workshop for Malawi’s Parliamentary Committee on Nutrition and HIV/AIDS. The workshop was titled, “Nutrition-champions building workshop”
and was attended by 12 members of Parliament.

This workshop oriented Parliamentarians on the nutrition agenda and outlined the reasons why it should be a priority in the national plan and budget. As a result of this engagement, the Nutrition and HIV/AIDS parliamentary committee has since conducted site visits and is more motivated to address malnutrition. Furthermore, members of the parliamentary committee have committed to do more to improve the nutrition situation in the country, particularly in the lead-up to the next Nutrition for Growth Summit.


Fred Swaniker v2 


The Trust focused largely on advocacy activities in Mozambique during 2015. This included preparation for a high-level advocacy presentation that was made by our Founder on behalf of the
Trust, the Civil Society Nutrition Alliance, United Nations agencies and other nutrition stakeholders in the country. An outcome was an agreement, in Mozambique, Carlos do Rosário, to elevate the national structure for nutrition coordination in Mozambique to the office of the Prime Minister.