UNICEF receives new grant to address severe acute malnutrition in East Africa


The UN children’s fund, UNICEF said Thursday it has received a new grant from the European Union’s Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) to address severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in East Africa.

UNICEF said the three-year joint program, 18.5 million U.S. dollars for the first year, in 2021, aims at increasing coverage and sustainability for treating severe acute malnutrition in Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan, while contributing to moving forward on nutrition solutions more globally.

EU said it places great value on this new kind of partnership with UNICEF. “Through this three-year project, we are keen to ensure that together we increase the scale, efficiency and effectiveness of our response to malnutrition in East Africa and to ensure that the gains we make through this project are sustained for longer,” Segolene de Beco, Head of the European Union’s Humanitarian Aid Regional Office in Nairobi said in a joint statement issued in Nairobi.

The three-year joint program will allocate 55.5 million dollars and reach 30 million women and children at risk. The grant is aimed at treating SAM through strengthened UNICEF stocks of therapeutic foods and increased delivery; supporting nutrition surveillance and monitoring of children’s nutritional status; and strengthening of national coordination and planning for a coherent and fit-for-purpose response to child malnutrition in the three targeted countries.

UNICEF said the EU grant will go a long way in supporting it to reach 3.1 million severely malnourished children in Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan, while building the capacity of systems to better withstand future crises.

Mohamed M. Fall, UNICEF regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa said investment in nutrition services in East Africa is greatly needed and welcomed the EU’s contribution and commitment to children in the region. “We need all the support we can get so together we can reach every child in need,” Fall added.

The UN agency said in the last two decades, the three countries have witnessed repeated droughts, floods, and outbreaks of diseases, which have jeopardized the capacity of communities to cope. These factors, UNICEF said, have also increased severe acute malnutrition in children. At present, around 22.1 million people are in need of food and nutrition assistance across Eastern and Southern Africa. Enditem

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