We launched our Mother and Child Nutrition Programme in partnership with Philani Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Trust in May to address food insecurity and malnutrition in vulnerable pregnant women and children.
Child poverty in South Africa
Multidimensional child poverty describes a state more complex than that defined by unidimensional measures, and when the deprivation – of nutrition, water and sanitation, education, shelter, and protection among others – represents a severe threat to growth and development. Multidimensional poverty is prevalent in 62.1% of South Africa’s children, with the worst cases found in the mostly rural provinces of Eastern Cape (78.7%), Kwa-Zulu Natal (75.8%) and Limpopo (82,8%) (UNICEF, 2020).
Food insecurity and hunger
A person is food insecure when they lack regular access to enough safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life. Hunger is an uncomfortable or painful physical sensation caused by insufficient consumption of dietary energy and becomes chronic when the person does not consume a sufficient amount of calories (dietary energy) on a regular basis to lead a normal, active and healthy life. When someone is severely food insecure, they have run out of food and gone a day or more without eating. In other words, they have most likely experienced hunger. The last census reported that out of almost 17,9 million households in SA in 2021, 2,6 million and 1,1 million households have inadequate and severely inadequate access to food, respectively. Furthermore, more than half a million (683 221) households with children aged five years or younger reported experiencing hunger.
Addressing childhood malnutrition
We launched our Mother and Child Nutrition Programme in partnership with Philani Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Trust to address food insecurity and malnutrition in vulnerable children, especially during the critical first 1,000 days. Philani’s mentor mothers identify and monitor at-risk pregnant women and children, while FoodForward SA provides vulnerable households with a nutritious food parcel. Our strategic partners include the Do More Foundation, RCL, PepsiCo Foundation, Oceana, OneFarm Share, Quantum Foods, Danone and Kellogg’s. The pilot covers six Philani clinics in the Western Cape (including Crossroads, Philippi/Browns Farm, Khayelitsha Site B & Site C, Mitchells Plain) and two clinics in the Eastern Cape (Zithulele and Coffee Bay).
Progress to date
From May to August 2023, we distributed a total of 400 food parcels to vulnerable households. Of the 38 children whose anthropometric measurements are being tracked, all but one child increased in weight. These results are very encouraging, and it is exciting to see how at-risk people are given support to begin to exit malnutrition. We are grateful to our partners for their incredible support. The pilot runs till February 2023 and thereafter we will scale the project nationally.
Support FoodForward SA’s efforts to fight childhood malnutrition. Donate here.