WFP to support Tanzania’s battle to end malnutrition and stunting

30Jul 2018
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
WFP to support Tanzania’s battle to end malnutrition and stunting

THE UN World Food Programme (WFP) has expressed its commitment to continue supporting Tanzania in its fight against malnutrition and consequent stunting which affects 34 per cent of children under the age of five across the country.

According to the WFP executive director David Beasley, stunting should be fought from all fronts as it also affects GDP growth.

Addressing a news conference over the weekend, Beasley said the WFP’s four-year country strategic plan (CSP) for Tanzania, launched last year, aims at overseeing a multi-sector nutritional programme for 185,000 pregnant and nursing women and children aged under two.

“Stunting does not only have a physical impact, but goes further to affect the country’s development... WFP is committed to help Tanzania overcome this challenge,” he stated.

Beasley also cited school-meal programmes as a vital initiative that could help the country mitigate the challenge.

“Embarking on school-meal programmes will help children grow healthier and eventually improve their performance in classes. Zambia has these programmes to provide meals to children in schools,” he said.

WFP country representative to Tanzania, Michael Dunford, said the country has made striking progress on many health indicators, but still has much to do to improve nutritional status.

“WFP is working closely with the government to correct the problem... it is now implementing a project to improve food and nutrition security for over 40,000 people, while contributing to the reduction of malnutrition in various districts of Dodoma and Singida regions,” Dunford said.

According to the Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey ‘s key findings report for 2015–2016, one in three Tanzanian children aged under five are stunted due to a chronic lack of essential growth nutrients such as vitamins and minerals In the worst affected areas of the country, this ratio rises to almost one in two.

WFP launched its four-year CSP for Tanzania in 2017, aligning it with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which aims to end poverty, reduce inequality, tackle climate change, and ensure sustainable agriculture and food security around the world.

Under the strategic plan, WFP aims to improve market access for 250,000 smallholder farmers, while overseeing a multi-sector nutrition programme for 185,000 pregnant and nursing women and children under two, and providing food assistance to over 300,000 refugees.

According to Dunford: “The development of the CSP provides the government with the opportunity to identify priority areas where, together with its partners, it can reduce the impact of shocks to vulnerable populations so they become more resilient and more food secure.”

WFP focuses specifically on two of the 17 globally-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG17 (Partnerships for the Goals.) SDG2 aims to eradicate hunger by the year 2030 while SDG 17 promotes partnerships, both public and private.

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