Lilongwe, Malawi, February 17, 2021 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS in the Ministry of Health today welcome a timely contribution of EUR 550,000 (about 515 million Malawi Kwacha) from the Government of Ireland to support interventions that prevent malnutrition in Malawi. “Four of every 10 children are affected by chronic malnutrition,” said Benoit Thiry, WFP Country Representative in Malawi. “Ireland’s contribution will propel efforts to improve the quality of nutrition services for vulnerable children and women.“
The contribution will be used to promote access to quality nutrition and health services targeting 30,000 malnourished children, adolescents, and women in Neno District focussing on maternal, infant and child nutrition to reduce stunting and micronutrient deficiencies.
The contribution comes at a time when the country is impacted by COVID-19 which is threatening the efforts to improve nutrition and health in the country.
In addition, the contribution will be used to provide technical support to the Government of Malawi in establishing a National Nutrition Centre of Excellence. The Centre will be a national hub for evidence generation, knowledge sharing and information management for nutrition innovation.
“Nutrition is vitally important throughout a person’s life,” said Seamus O’ Grady, Ambassador, Embassy of Ireland in Malawi. “The Government of Ireland is pleased to renew its commitment to support Malawi’s effort towards ending malnutrition especially at the subnational level (Neno District) and by reaching those further behind who in this case comprise of women and young girls.”
The Government of Ireland is one of the largest donors to WFP’s nutrition programme in Malawi. WFP is working with the Government of Malawi, development partners and communities to improve nutrition for vulnerable people through the implementation of the National Multisector Nutrition Policy.
Good nutrition is critical to achieving full physical growth of children. In Malawi, malnutrition remains a serious challenge and contributes to preventable child deaths. 37% of children in Malawi are affected by stunting (being too short for one’s age) while only 8% of children aged 6-23 months meet the minimum acceptable diet. Stunted children are more likely to drop out of school and repeatedly experience lower productivity later in life.
The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. Our efforts focus on responding to emergencies while strengthening the Government's social protection system; preventing chronic malnutrition; providing locally produced school meals; and building resilience of rural communities to be more self-reliant and equipped to face climatic shocks.
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About Ireland in Malawi
The partnership between Ireland and WFP began in 2011 with a supplementary feeding programme which was an essential part of effective treatment of moderate acute malnutrition among women and children, helping to prevent cases from progressing to the severely acute stage. More recently, the support from the Government of Irealand to WFP focused on the prevention of undernutrition through the reduction of the prevalence of stunting and micronutrient deficiencies with an emphasis on capacity strengthening for Government at national and district levels.