(From left to right) UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, Royal Dutch DSM Chief Executive Officer Feike Sijbesma, and Sight and Life Foundation board member Fokko Wientjes smile after signing an agreement to renew their partnership, following a bilateral meeting between UNICEF and Royal Dutch DSM at UNICEF House in New York City.
Guided by the Sustainable Development Goal’s target of ending hunger and improving nutrition everywhere, the partnership will focus on reaching mothers and children with nutrition interventions during the crucial first 1,000 days of children’s lives, from conception to age 2. Good nutrition during this period plays a vital role in supporting children’s physical and cognitive development with lifelong benefits.
Less than 20% of children in Nigeria are fed diets that meet the minimum adequacy for health growth and development and nearly 40% of children under 5 have stunted growth, a condition caused by malnutrition.
“Good nutrition is a human right. DSM is proud to partner once again with UNICEF and Sight and Life to improve nutrition in Nigeria and across Africa, especially for vulnerable populations like women and children. It is an important step toward achieving a world without hunger and a world in which people everywhere can reach their full potential,” said Feike Sijbesma, CEO and Chairman of the DSM Managing Board.
DSM offers essential vitamins, nutrients, and fortification solutions as well as expertise that complements the research, programs, and global reach of UNICEF and Sight and Life.
“Nutrition is one of the most effective and cost-effective investments we can make — in children’s lives and futures, and in the long-term strength of their societies,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Every child has a right to grow up healthy and strong, and this new partnership with Royal DSM and Sight and Life will help more children in Nigeria to realize that right.”
Together, the partners will develop scalable models and drive innovation to improve the quality of food and nutrition in Nigeria, with the goal of spurring similar action in other countries where malnutrition is a critical concern. The partners will also advocate on a global scale for best practices in micronutrient supplementation.
The new partnership builds on joint activity by DSM and UNICEF from 2013-2015 that supported micronutrient powder (MNP) programs in Madagascar and Nigeria. Together the organizations already improved nutrition for about 400,000 children in Nigeria through the MNP pilot program.
“With our expertise in implementation research and social and behaviour change communication, we will effectively contribute to nutrition programs at scale in Nigeria,” says Klaus Kraemer, Managing Director of Sight and Life.