UNITLIFE, the United Nations initiative dedicated to fighting chronic malnutrition through innovation, and Ecobank Foundation, the Foundation for the Ecobank Group – the pan-African banking group with operations in 33 countries across the continent has launched their “Make the Connection” campaign, which aims to raise awareness and funding to prevent chronic malnutrition in Africa.
UNITLIFE is the United Nations initiative dedicated to fighting chronic malnutrition through innovation. It was established by UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and UN Women.
About 144 million children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition worldwide. The prevalence is highest in Africa, where as many as 24 African countries have rates above 30%, with 1 in 3 African children not adequately nourished during the first 1,000 days of their lives. As a result, they will face life-long consequences that will affect their physical growth, cognitive development and immune systems.
The disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to the health systems of countries and the global economy have compounded the malnutrition crisis in Africa. Nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits and animal-sourced foods have become less accessible and affordable for millions of families.
“Everywhere in Africa, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on people’s incomes and ability to access nutritious foods. The Standing Together for Nutrition Consortium estimates that about 1.2 million additional children in Sub-Saharan Africa will experience stunted growth in 2022 compared to 2019 due to interruptions in nutrition services and increased household poverty. It is therefore imperative that we focus on chronic malnutrition in these challenging times. UNITLIFE is excited to partner with the Ecobank Foundation to raise awareness and funds to fight this disease”, says Assia Sidibe, Head of UNITLIFE Secretariat.
Ecobank is supporting the communication efforts of the campaign and bringing the necessary expertise to set-up the fundraising mechanisms. Carl Manlan, Chief Operating Officer, Ecobank Foundation explains: “At the Foundation, our aim is to create a positive impact on the lives of people across Africa. Supporting UNITLIFE helps us achieve our mission. We are glad we can contribute to a healthier and more prosperous future for children in Africa.”
The “Make the connection” campaign is aligned with the ongoing global effort to mobilize additional resources for development and contributes to the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 especially SDG2, “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture”.