Panafrican News Agency

IFAD, Save the Children fight for girl child nutrition

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - By 2030, there will be 129 million children with stunted growth due to malnutrition, mostly born of young mothers, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and Save the Children warned on Monday.

The indication was given in a statement released by IFAD as a conference focusing on nutrition for girls, supported by the Canadian Government, opened in Rome on Monday.

The two-day dialogue will underline the importance of looking not only at initiatives aimed to support nutrition but also at all those interventions that may indirectly have an impact on girls’ nutrition, guaranteeing the respect of girls' rights and those of future generations.

The inter-generational cycle of malnutrition is as a result of various factors, which must be addressed in an integrated manner.

Among the factors are : poverty, socio-cultural norms, low education levels, lack of safe drinking water, limited access to health systems.

Also contributing to stunted growth among children are lack of access to resources, all of which are necessary to make young girls economically independent and aware, thereby protecting them from early marriages, says the two organizations.

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," says the organizations.

"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.

"To stop the inter-generational 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,'' says Fatarella.

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

IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub, while "Save the Children" is the international organization that has been fighting to save the lives of children and guarantee them a future since 1919.
-0- PANA DJ/VAO 22Oct2018