Japan contributes US$1 Million to help prevent Chronic Malnutrition and support Vulnerable Families

The Government of Japan has contributed US$1 million to help prevent chronic malnutrition and support vulnerable families with pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under two years in Burundi’s northern province of Kirundo.

The project is run by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) working with the Ministry of Public Health and the Non-Governmental Organization Concern Worldwide.

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WFP Country Director and Representative in Burundi, Virginia Villar Arribas said, “Improving the health and well-being of people requires investment in the prevention of factors that influence their nutrition and wellbeing. We are honoured to receive this contribution from the people of Japan to help respond to nutrition needs and build the resilience of the people of Kirundo.”

Kirundo is one of the provinces most affected by chronic malnutrition and food insecurity. WFP will use the contribution to distribute nutritional food supplements to pregnant women and nursing mothers to cover nutrient gaps and prevent low birth weight and infections that lead to increased child mortality.

WFP supports community nutrition education where women teach other local women. Main topics include dietary diversity, exclusive breast feeding, hygiene practices and family planning. Through this approach, women exert social control among themselves to facilitate behaviour changes at the household level and to impact social and cultural norms in the longer term.

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Japanese Ambassador to Burundi, Takayuki Miyashita said, “I am delighted to be able to work with WFP again to improve the health and well-being of people and we thank WFP Burundi. Japan will continue to support the development of Burundi.”

Japan’s government has supported Burundi together with WFP for many years. This contribution is the second for food assistance this year. The last was signed in February.

Overall in 2019 so far, WFP received US$2.8 millionfrom the people of Japan for the treatment and prevention of malnutrition and the provision of daily school meals to students in areas that are most affected by food insecurity and malnutrition across the country.

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According to a Demographic and Health Survey from 2016-2017, 56 percent of the country’s children under the age of five are chronically malnourished – well above the critical threshold of 40 percent defined by the World Health Organization. Chronic malnutrition has life-long effects on children including diminished ability to learn, lower school achievement and reduced productivity.

The Government is very active in fighting malnutrition and has been a member of the Scaling Up Nutrition network since 2013.

WFP supports the efforts of the Government of Burundi to address poverty and undernutrition and end hunger through assistance to vulnerable people, including refugees, internally displaced people and returnees, food-insecure households, malnourished children under 5, and pregnant women and nursing mothers.

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WFP provides support to smallholder farmers by linking them to markets. Government, humanitarian and development partners benefit from WFP supply chain and logistics services in the country.