U.S. Assistance Activity to Improve the Nutrition for Mothers and Children in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, December–The U.S. Agency for International Development, in collaboration with Save the Children and the Government of Ethiopia, announced a new multi-sector nutrition activity known as Growth Through Nutrition, which will build on the accomplishments of USAID’s Empowering New Generations to Improve Nutrition and Economic Opportunities activity, or ENGINE. The Growth Through Nutrition activity supports Ethiopia’s efforts to improve the nutritional status of women and young children in four regions—Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray—focusing on the first 1,000 days.
Through ENGINE, USAID provided nutrition and health services to 5.6 million children under the age of five, trained 26,300 people in child health and nutrition and 107,000 individuals in nutrition sensitive, short-term agricultural productivity, and directly benefited 15,070 most vulnerable households with nutrition sensitive livelihood interventions in the Amhara, Tigray, SNNP, and Oromia regions. USAID’s key achievements through ENGINE were as follows:
Stunting declined by 20 percent in Amhara, 14 percent in SNNP, and 12 percent in Oromia
Prevalence of maternal malnourishment decreased by nine percent in Amhara and six percent in SNNP
Initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth increased by 27 percentage points or more in the Amhara, SNNP, and Oromia regions
Proportion of children 6-23 months consuming at least four food groups increased by 19 percent in Amhara, 14 percent in SNNP, and 18 percent in Oromia and improved in 22 of 26 woredas
The proportion of women with low dietary diversity decreased by 25 percent in Oromia
The proportion of women who took iron-folate supplements against anemia during their last pregnancy increased by 126 percent in the Amhara, SNNP, and Oromia regions
Proportion of households who are food insecure decreased in nearly all surveyed woredas
Growth Through Nutrition will expand and strengthen USAID’s effective and promising interventions, as well as make significant investments in the agriculture and WASH sectors to further enhance a multi-sector approach to reduce stunting in Ethiopia. The activity will develop and implement strategies to increase the reach and sustainability of interventions to the household level, increase ownership and involvement of government, collaborate with the private sector and other USAID activities to maximize impact, and introduce mechanisms to protect poor households’ investment gains or assets during shocks such as drought.
Growth Through Nutrition will benefit an estimated 14 million people in 100 targeted woredas (districts) through improved health services; increased production and availability of quality food, WASH products and services; increased access to safe water; and social behavior change and communication for nutrition. The activity will reach more than one million “1,000 Days” pregnant women and children under two years old with direct support to prevent stunting. Additionally, it will expand USAID’s work with most vulnerable households to increase their access to seeds, poultry, and small livestock for up to 28,000 beneficiaries.
Growth Through Nutrition will work using the existing structure of five ministries (Health; Agriculture and Natural Resources; Livestock and Fisheries; Education; and Water, Irrigation and Energy). The activity will help Ethiopia to build the strong institutional system and human resources needed to implement sustainable multi-sector nutrition programming and achieve its National Nutrition Program goal.
USAID’s lead partner for Growth Through Nutrition, Save the Children, is implementing this activity in cooperation with the Feinstein International Center and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Jhpiego, World Vision, Population Service International, Land O’ Lakes Inc., the Manoff Group, and several local partners.
Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Mareeg senior news editor since 2001 and he can be reached at news@mareeg.com