The World Bank Group and UNICEF are among a group of organizations that are teaming up to try to raise $1 billion to tackle problems with children’s nutrition in some of the world’s poorest countries.
The independent fund that launched April 16 is called The Power of Nutrition. It launches with arrangements in place to unlock the first $200 million from such backers as the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, UBS Optimus Foundation, the U.K.’s Department for International Development, UNICEF and the World Bank Group.
The money raised by the Power of Nutrition is expected to be used to finance large-scale, high-impact nutrition programs, including trying to break the cycle of undernourished girls growing into undernourished mothers, who give birth to undernourished children.
The Power of Nutrition will act as a catalyst to multiply financial resources going into country-led programs that target child undernutrition at scale, through a combination of grants, government funding and International Development Association (I.D.A.) financing.
The fund has developed a matching offer that guarantees every dollar in private funding is multiplied up to six times with new financing secured from other funders. Governments seeking financial support for their national nutrition programs also will be able to multiply their resources through the fund.
Initial contributions to The Power of Nutrition include $55 million from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, up to £32 million ($47 million) from the U.K. Department of International Development and up to 25 million Swiss francs ($26 million) from the UBS Optimus Foundation.
The resources will be channeled through a new World Bank Group (WBG) trust fund for nutrition and through a UNICEF matched-funding mechanism. The new WBG trust fund of at least $55 million will leverage at least another $100 million from the I.D.A., the WBG’s fund for the poorest. The new agreement with UNICEF provides an opportunity for donors to fund UNICEF through a matched-funding mechanism dedicated to ending child undernutrition.
“Good nutrition is an essential part of a healthy life,” said Michael Anderson, chief executive officer of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. “Yet every day, millions of children die, are sick or are disadvantaged because they are not receiving the right nutrition and care at the right time. Investors in The Power of Nutrition can change that, so good nutrition becomes the new normal.”
Sri Mulyani Indrawati, managing director and chief operating officer of the World Bank Group, added, “We believe that undernutrition is one of the world’s most serious but least addressed public health challenges. Children who escape undernutrition are 33% more likely to escape poverty as adults. Countries in Africa and Asia are losing up to 11% of their GDP to undernutrition. We want children and countries to reach their full potential. This is why we are tracking stunting as a predictor of development and see initiatives like The Power of Nutrition as key to achieving our goal of ending extreme poverty.”