Malnutrition in Zambia runs rampant among children younger than 5 years old. Stunted growth as a result of chronic malnutrition affects one million of those young children. Chronic malnutrition is the result of a combination of insufficient food, poor health and inadequate health practices. Projects and initiatives have been started and continue to address the problem of malnutrition in Zambia.

Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN)

Through the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC), the SUN initiative has been able to implement policies aimed at strengthening agricultural development in Zambia as well as increasing food insecurity. The SUN initiative focuses on the first 1,000 days of a child’s life from the time of conception, a period of time that is critical to human development.

Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN)

The RAIN project aims to reduce stunting in children through integrated agriculture, health and nutrition initiatives during the period from conception until 24 months of age. The project is a partnership between Concern Worldwide, which implemented the project, and the International Food Policy Research Institute. The Institute leads the monitoring, education and evaluation components during the five-year span of the project, from 2011 until 2015. The project is located in the Mumbwa district in the Central Province of Zambia, where the prevalence of malnutrition is 59 percent of children who are less than 5 years old.

Purchase for Progress (P4P)

A World Food Programme (WFP) global pilot project called Purchase for Progress helps smallholder farmers improve their opportunities and access to lucrative markets. WFP supports the Zambian government in assisting poor households to overcome malnutrition. The P4P project brings food supplies from smallholder farmers to school nutrition programs. Other activities through the project include the empowerment of women through animal traction, increasing market access and promoting sustainable agriculture methods.

Mobile Delivery and Trucking (MDT)

The MDT project is unique to Zambia and it has transitioned from an electronic food voucher distributor to a service that provides technical support to national agriculture, education, health and social programs. The program engages the private sector for the distribution of affordable, acceptable and accessible nutritious food products.

Those are just a few of the organizations that work on combating malnutrition in Zambia. Poor nutrition in children has been shown to affect mental health as well as physical health. With improvements in nutrition come more opportunities for children to advance in school and eventually be the intellectual force that drives Zambia’s economy.

– Haley Sklut

Sources: Scaling Up Nutrition, World Food Programme, All Africa
Photo: Spark Ventures