The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced a $15 million project to improve the nutrition of a million undernourished children and mothers in seven Asian countries.
“To achieve the Millennium Development Goals [to slash a host of social ills by 2015], malnutrition has to be addressed urgently and effectively,” WFP Regional Director Tony Banbury told a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in Hong Kong, where business leaders and philanthropists also committed over $4 million to support the plan.
“WFP is working hard to improve the nutritional value of the food support we provide by providing fortified food products and micronutrient supplements.”
The agency will provide locally-fortified food products over the next three years to at-risk children under two, moderately malnourished individuals, pregnant and lactating women and populations suffering from micronutrient deficiencies and chronic illnesses in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines and Timor-Leste.
Based on work done in Laos, WFP will work with multiple stakeholders to increase the scale of production and distribution of improved fortified corn soya blend. In Myanmar, for example, it will work with the private sector to ensure factories produce and mill foods for WFP operations. In Timor-Leste, it will create a consortium of government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private sector bodies to produce more nutritious food locally.
In India, WFP will aim to secure technical expertise and funding to support research into the production of a chickpea paste for a cost-effective ready-to-eat product to help people in emergencies.
At the CGI meeting’s closing session today, popular Republic of Korea film actor Jang Dong Kun was also appointed WFP National Ambassador Against Hunger, focusing on raising funds for hungry children in Asia.