Food and nutrition

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Food and nutrition

Concern Worldwide knows hunger affects everything for the world’s poorest people. We believe no one should have to live with hunger and the damage it does. That’s why we're working for a world in which no one dies for want of safe, quality, nutritious food.

The issue

Millions of people living in extreme poverty don’t have enough continuous access to safe, nutritious food; this has resulted in over 2 billion people across the world suffering from various forms of malnutrition today – undernutrition, overweight and obesity, and micronutrient deficiencies.

Despite the fact that the number of people suffering from undernutrition has decreased by 216 million over the past 25 years, 795 million people remain undernourished and go to bed hungry every day; the majority of these people are women and children.

The consequences of malnutrition are severe and sometimes permanent. 161 million children under the age of 5 are stunted (low height for age) and 52 million children are wasted (low weight for height) at any given time. A more emerging issue is overweight and obesity; in the next decade, it is estimated that over 70 million infants and young children will be affected by overweight and obesity, the vast majority living in low and middle income countries.

The critical 1,000 day period - between the mother’s pregnancy and the child’s second birthday – is a unique window of opportunity; the right nutrition during this time can have a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and rise out of poverty.  This 1,000 day window offers a chance to prevent irreversible damage caused by poor nutrition. 

Nutrition for Sustainable Development

Concern works with the world’s poorest people to end malnutrition and put an end to hunger. We understand that nutrition is foundational to achieve sustainable development and can impact on health, education and economic growth. The Sustainable Development Goals present an opportunity to end poverty, hunger and malnutrition by 2030 but this cannot happen if nutrition is ignored and underfunded.

There is a strong investment case for nutrition to achieve sustainable development. Despite extraordinary returns on investment and a high cost-benefit ratio, current global spending for basic solutions to improve nutrition totals less than 1% of development aid (estimated at $0.25-0.3 billion). Scale-up of nutrition-focused aid is crucial to end malnutrition and – ultimately - save lives. Improving nutrition during the 1,000 day window is one of the best investments we can make to achieve lasting progress in global health and development.

Our approach

The Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN) programme that Concern has run in Zambia for the past 5 years demonstrates our approach to tackling the root causes of poverty and hunger, by combing agriculture with nutrition, health and gender. RAIN aims to reduce stunting in a country where 45% of children under the age of five are suffering from chronic malnutrition. This year, we will be evaluating the successfulness of RAIN and using the evidence to inform policy both in the UK and Zambia.

We are part of the International Coalition for Advocacy on Nutrition (ICAN), a civil society group which aims to increase global investment and commitment to improve nutrition. A pivotal moment for ICAN is the Nutrition for Growth Summit in Rio, 2016 as a follow-up from the Nutrition for Growth Summit in London, 2013. In London, commitments from donors, civil society, businesses and others to tackle undernutrition reached over £15 billion. ICAN will be urging world leader’s to attend the Nutrition for Growth Summit in Rio to increase investments directed toward ending malnutrition in all its forms and achieving the internationally agreed-upon World Health Assembly targets to improve maternal, infant and young child nutrition.