Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
Board of directors of the African Development Fund (ADF) has given approval to a grant of $31.2 million to the Ethiopia to increase its access to multi-sectoral nutritional services for children under-five years, by boosting access to services for improved health, a more diverse and nutritious food, and improving knowledge, attitude and practices on feeding, care and hygiene.
The Multi-sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project (MASReP) will target forty districts or woredas in the country’s Amhara and Tigray regions. With a total cost of $48 million, the project has three programmatic components anchored on climate-proofed infrastructure development for effective service delivery; livelihood support, production and promotion of nutritious foods; and strengthening institutional systems and capacity building.
Nnenna Nwabufo, director-general for the African Development Bank’s (ADB) East Africa Region, said, “With its strong emphasis on using a comprehensive package of systemic and mutually reinforcing multi-sectoral interventions to simultaneously address the multidimensional causes of stunting, the project will significantly contribute to building the grey matter infrastructure of the children in the target areas and lead to improved productivity in the future.”
She said, “The project is also a demonstration of the bank’s efforts to accelerate implementation of the ADB’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy as well as operationalize the African Nutrition Accountability Score Card launched by the Bank in 2019.”
Child malnutrition remains a significant development challenge in Ethiopia. In the project target area, nearly 50% of children under age 5 are afflicted by stunting. A range of factors contributes to the prevalence of undernourishment, including low dietary diversity and poor access to clean drinking water.
The project aligns to the Ethiopia’s Sequota Declaration (SD), signed in 2015 as a commitment to end stunting in children under two by 2030 under the leadership of the national ministries of health; agriculture, water, irrigation and energy; education; women, children and youth; labour and social affairs; transport; and finance.
It contributes to Ethiopia’s effort to achieve the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 2 to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, which is strongly aligned with the African Development Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy 2013–2022 and two of its ‘High Five’ operational priorities seeking to ‘Feed Africa’ and ‘Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa’.