Innovation of the Week: Scaling up Nutrition

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By Isaac Hopkins

Scale Up Nutrition (SUN), a program of the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition, is part of a broader effort to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing poverty by 50 percent by 2015. SUN helps various organizations coordinate efforts to combat malnutrition in women and children—particularly malnutrition in children under two years old—by helping to maximize efficiency.

SUN helps various organizations combat malnutrition in women and children (Photo Credit: Martine Perret)

SUN emphasizes two approaches to solving hunger. The first involves immediate, direct intervention for malnourished pregnant women and children via food aid and nutritional supplements—intervention that could be provided by agencies from a local to a national scale. The second approach is broader, and emphasizes food security, access to health care, and other “support structures” such as information distribution and microfinance. The second approach is intended to promote long-term solutions, which are essential to the success of the MDGs.

More than 100 organizations, including Bread for the World and Save the Children, have endorsed SUN since 2010, when the Road Map for Scaling Up Nutrition was released. In the last two years, these organizations have actively worked with governments and organizations, and achieved measurable, long-term reductions in malnutrition. 1,000 Days, a SUN partner organization that launched in 2010, has focused on targeting malnutrition during a critical period of childhood: conception to two years of age. The organization works to inform women and policy makers at every level about the vital importance of appropriate nutrition early in life, and to encourage them to take immediate and appropriate action.

With the support of the UN, many countries have launched domestic SUN projects. Development benchmarks, established during the High Level Meeting on Nutrition in September 2011, have made it easy to direct and evaluate progress in different parts of the world. At the 2011 meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted that the SUN movement “has become, in a very short time, a model of how to implement successfully the principles … in the fight to strengthen global nutrition.”

Isaac Hopkins is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project.

What programs have you heard of that could benefit young children and their mothers during the 1,000 day “window of opportunity?” Let us know in the comments!

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE.

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