“Investing in nutrition is cost-effective, and critical for Africa’s economic and human capital development. For every $1 invested in nutrition, there is a $16 return on investment in health, education and productivity outcomes.” – An Investment Framework for Nutrition
Supporting nutrition efforts in Africa has long been at the heart of our efforts. In fact, Africare was founded in response to the Sahealian droughts that caused widespread famine throughout Sub- Saharan Africa in the 70s. Nutrition continues to be a focus for us today – about 75% of all Africare programs have a nutrition element. Malnourishment of children is of special concern as studies show that nearly 40% of African children under the age of 5 are malnourished. Sufficient nutrition is most critical for children from conception through the second birthday, providing the proper nutrients to kick-start development. Our model for handling these efforts stems from the World Health Organization’s (WHO)
Essential Nutrition Action Framework - this focuses on the first 1,000 days in the life of the child, maternally and individually. Our programs implement nutrition-specific interventions that address the immediate (treatment, disease management, micronutrient supplementation) and intermediate (feeding practices) causes of malnutrition, and promote access to health services and good hygiene and sanitation. In addition, we provide nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions that increase household access and consumption of a variety of nutrient rich food.
Many of our nutrition efforts are guided by Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC). SBCC looks to solve problems by educating, encouraging, and empowering. Communities must decide to grow and consume more nutritious food themselves, and we are there to teach, empower, and provide critical knowledge along the way. SBCC also gives a sense of ownership, fulfillment, and satisfaction to the communities as they begin to see positive outcomes, share with their neighbors, and ultimately teach and re-teach nutrition habits through generations.