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Rwanda launches commitment to reduce stunting

  |   SUN Country Network

© UNICEF/UNI110790/Noorani

The Prime Minister of Rwanda, Dr. Ngirente Anastase launched a Multi-Sectoral Program to reduce stunting supported by the World Bank, which includes grant financing by the The Power of Nutrition, and the Global Financing Facility (GFF).

The program, supported by the World Bank (USD 55 million), aims to reduce stunting rates among children under age 5 in 13 of Rwanda’s highest-burden stunting districts. Given the long-term negative effects of stunting on human capital development, addressing stunting, or chronic malnutrition, will support Rwanda in attaining its aspiration to become a middle-income country.

The Rwanda Stunting Prevention and Reduction Project will support community-based approaches, improve the delivery of high-impact nutrition and health interventions, incentivize frontline community health workers and health personnel, strengthen accountability mechanisms, and promote a learning-by-doing approach to draw lessons on what works and how it can be scaled up. The Strengthening Social Protection Project will scale up the main components of the Vision 2020 Umurenge Program (VUP), including innovations such as a gender and child-sensitive public works schemes, a cash transfer support targeting poor households with pregnant women and children under 2, and strengthening of birth registration and service delivery systems.

The Program will have a particular focus on high-stunting districts, vulnerable populations, and the critical 1,000 days beyond which stunting becomes largely irreversible. As Yasser El-Gammal, World Bank Country Manager noted.

Stunting deprives children of their right to grow, thrive and reach their full potential. I would like to congratulate the Government of Rwanda for its bold vision and staunch commitment to tackling this silent killer. Our support to social protection will continue to strengthen the service delivery systems which are critical to achieve these outcomes, especially among vulnerable groups. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the strong collaboration and support from development partners, financiers, and all stakeholders who have contributed to this program”.

“The government of Rwanda is strongly committed to bending the arc of history on stunting: 38 percent of children in Rwanda were stunted in 2015,” said Dr. Diane Gashumba, Minister of Health of Rwanda. Good coordination of all stakeholders is critical to our success, and we look forward to working with all our partners on this ambitious endeavor.”

The Government of Rwanda, in partnership with the World Bank, The Power of Nutrition, and the Global Financing Facility (GFF), has developed an integrated program to combat chronic malnutrition, with a focus on high-stunting districts, vulnerable populations, and the critical 1,000 days beyond which stunting becomes largely irreversible.

“Stunting is a stark manifestation of the widespread tendency to under-value, and under-invest in, human capital,” said Tim Evans, Senior Director, Health Nutrition and Population Global Practice, World Bank Group.  “This partnership turns the tide on stunting and lays the foundation for every child in Rwanda to achieve success in school and contribute fully to the country’s future economic prosperity.”

“The project aims to promote a paradigm shift in how Rwandans think about stunting, ensuring it is no longer a silent killer, depriving children of their right to grow and prosper,” said Miriam Schneidman, Lead Health Specialist and Task Team Leader, the World Bank Group.

Of the $55 million approved today, a $25 million credit is provided by the International Development Association (IDA)*, a $20 million grant is provided by The Power of Nutrition, and a $10 million grant is provided by the GFF. The project is the centerpiece of the World Bank program and will support innovations in service delivery and roll-out of a new national behavioral change communications strategy.

“Stunting is a social injustice that hides in plain sight. In Rwanda it is estimated that undernutrition is the underlying cause of 22 percent of all child mortality, 13 percent of primary school repetition, and lower adult wages leading to the annual loss of 11.5 percent of GDP,” said Martin Short, CEO of The Power of Nutrition. “We are honored to contribute to the Government of Rwanda’s ambition to eliminate stunting through this holistic program.”

“The Government of Rwanda has shown great leadership in this bold effort to address chronic stunting,” said Mariam Claeson, Director of the GFF. “The GFF is proud to co-finance Rwanda’s priorities and support multi-sectoral interventions to address stunting with a clear focus on results.” 

Related information

• Rwanda Country Profile (2017)English | Français | Español

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