Around the world, almost 690 million people are undernourished and another two billion are chronically malnourished. Malnutrition is particularly widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, preventing individual human beings from developing their potential and affecting the development opportunities of entire countries.
Inadequate provision of micronutrients such as iron, zinc and vitamin A during what is called the 1,000-day window – the period from conception up to the second birthday – has a long-term effect on a child’s health and quality of life. Malnutrition affects physical and mental development. Opportunities to study and later embark on a career can be considerably reduced.
There are many different causes of hunger and malnutrition: poverty, crises, conflicts, overpopulation and natural disasters as well as lack of access to health services, nutritious food, safe drinking water and sanitation. There is often a lack of nutrition knowledge and of simple yet effective hygiene measures. A broad-based approach is therefore required to combat hunger and malnutrition and tackle the varied and complex causes comprehensively.
Resilience to food crises and food and nutrition security for people, above all for women of child-bearing age, pregnant women, nursing mothers and small children, are enhanced.
On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Food and Nutrition Security, and Enhanced Resilience programme is currently active in 10 African and Asian countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Togo and Zambia. The programmes in Kenya and Yemen were concluded in 2020. It supports food and nutrition security strategies in partner countries, is closely aligned with the relevant ministries and cooperates with national and international non-governmental organisations and other donors. The programme also builds on existing programmes run by German development cooperation. This ensures continuity and a common approach to the issue of food and nutrition security and the approaches are permanently integrated into local structures. By supporting governments as part of the international Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) initiative, the programme makes a direct contribution towards global efforts to improve food and nutrition security and thus to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In order to tackle the manifold causes of malnutrition and undernutrition in an integrated manner, the programme connects measures from a variety of sectors, including agriculture, health, education, social protection and WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene). The programme’s main target group comprises women of child-bearing age, pregnant women, nursing mothers and small children, who are particularly affected by malnutrition.
The programme educates women about eating a healthy, balanced diet and teaches them to grow, store and prepare food. Knowledge about good, hygienic practices in households and the provision of clean water boost human health, as healthy bodies absorb and use nutrients more effectively.