WASHINGTON, February 28, 2018 - The World Bank today approved $55 million 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.
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 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.”
The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.
About The Power of Nutrition
The Power of Nutrition is an innovative financing mechanism exclusively dedicated to scaling up a comprehensive package of evidence-based and high-impact interventions to improve child nutrition by facilitating better co-ordination and ground-breaking partnership between private donors, non-traditional donors and national governments. It is committed to helping children grow to their full potential, ending the cycle of undernutrition, and enabling countries to build human capital and strong and prosperous communities.
About the Global Financing Facility
The Global Financing Facility (GFF) is a multi-stakeholder partnership that is helping countries tackle the greatest health and nutrition issues affecting women, children and adolescents. The GFF brings governments and partners together around a country-led plan, prioritizing high-impact but underinvested areas of health. The GFF Trust Fund acts as a catalyst for financing, with countries using modest GFF Trust Fund grants to significantly increase their domestic resources alongside the World Bank’s IDA and IBRD financing, aligned external financing, and private sector resources. Each relatively small external investment is multiplied by countries’ own commitments—generating a large return on investment, ultimately saving and improving lives.