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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Nutrition for girls: Save the Children, IFAD join forces on integrating multi-sectoral measures

Estimated 129 million children with have stunted growth due to malnutrition, mostly born of young mothers by the year 2030, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Participants at the International Conference on "Leaving no one behind - making the case for adolescent girls," organized by IFAD, Save the Children, with support of the Canadian Government in Rome noted that this would  save adolescent girls from malnutrition and prevent early deaths.

For them, the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition is as a result of various factors, which must be addressed in an integrated manner: poverty, socio-cultural norms, low education levels, lack of safe drinking water, limited access to health systems, access to resources, all of which are necessary to make young girls economically independent and aware, thereby protecting them from early marriages.

Every year in the world, about 12 million girls get married prematurely and 16 million adolescents become mothers. While girls play an essential role in the economic and human development of their families and communities, they are strongly threatened by varying experiences of exclusion and discrimination, such as early marriages and/or early pregnancies, violence, all kind of abuses, and poor access to essential services.

"Adolescent girls, especially if they are undernourished, are more likely to die in childbirth or to give life to children with nutritional deficits, who are more vulnerable and exposed to premature death," emphasizes Daniela Fatarella, Deputy CEO of Save the Children Italy, the international organization that since 1919 fights to save the lives of children and guarantee them a future. "To stop the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition  it is important to invest in young girls, improve their nutritional health and above all, empower them, providing them with  necessary life-skills to strengthen them, improve their self-esteem and ability to emancipate themselves, both socially and economically. Ensuring appropriate nutrition for adolescent girls," adds Fatarella,"requires integrated and multi-sectoral approaches. Unfortunately, there are few good practices documented and so we ask for greater commitment from the international community and governments in prioritizing adolescent girls' focused initiatives."

Supporting young girls is therefore fundamental to positively influence the nutrition of future generations, reducing stunting by 40% by 2025 and eliminating all forms of malnutrition by 2030, as foreseen by Goal 2 of the Agenda 2030.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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