Two of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates and Aliko Dangote, have committed $100 million, about N1.97 billion, to fighting malnutrition in Nigeria.
A deal to that effect was signed by the duo on behalf of Bill & Melinda Gates and Dangote Foundation, respectively, in a new partnership aimed at improving the nutrition of children in the country’s North-East and North-West Regions.
The programme will include community-based approaches and proven interventions linked to behavior change, fortification of staple foods with essential micronutrients; the community management of acute malnutrition and investments in local production of nutritious foods.
A key objective will be improving the livelihoods of households by supporting nutrition-sensitive agricultural programmes that can increase family income, improve diets and empower women and youth.
11 million children malnourished- Dangote
Speaking at the partnership, Dangote said that the programme was starting with the North-East and North-West because they had the highest number of acutely malnourished children in the country.
His words: “These two areas we are talking about, when you look at the numbers of malnourished children in Nigeria, they account for over 50 per cent. We therefore want to tackle those areas before we begin to look at other parts of the country.
“Globally, Nigeria has the second highest number of acute malnutrition cases, standing at 37 per cent. Malnourished children become stunted in their growth. They never reach their full potentials and are never able to contribute fully to the development of society. Stunted girls also grow to become stunted adult women who give birth to low weight babies who are at high risk of malnutrition, thus the vicious cycle of malnutrition continues, if not addressed.”