USAID launches nutrition program for mothers, children in Ethiopia

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with Save the Children and the Government of Ethiopia, announced a new multi-sector nutrition activity known as Growth Through Nutrition.

The new activity aims to build on the accomplishments of USAID’s Empowering New Generations to Improve Nutrition and Economic Opportunities activity, or ENGINE.

The Growth Through Nutrition activity supports Ethiopia’s efforts to improve the nutritional status of women and young children in four regions—Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray—focusing on the first 1,000 days.

Through ENGINE, USAID provided nutrition and health services to 5.6 million children under the age of five, trained 26,300 people in child health and nutrition and 107,000 individuals in nutrition sensitive, short-term agricultural productivity, and directly benefited 15,070 most vulnerable households with nutrition sensitive livelihood interventions in the Amhara, Tigray, SNNP, and Oromia regions. USAID’s key achievements through ENGINE were as follows:

  • Stunting declined by 20 percent in Amhara, 14 percent in SNNP, and 12 percent in Oromia
  • Prevalence of maternal malnourishment decreased by nine percent in Amhara and six percent in SNNP
  • Initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth increased by 27 percentage points or more in the Amhara, SNNP, and Oromia regions
  • Proportion of children 6-23 months consuming at least four food groups increased by 19 percent in Amhara, 14 percent in SNNP, and 18 percent in Oromia and improved in 22 of 26 woredas (districts).
  • The proportion of women with low dietary diversity decreased by 25 percent in Oromia
  • The proportion of women who took iron-folate supplements against anemia during their last pregnancy increased by 126 percent in the Amhara, SNNP, and Oromia regions
  • Proportion of households who are food insecure decreased in nearly all surveyed woredas

Growth Through Nutrition will expand and strengthen USAID’s effective and promising interventions, as well as make significant investments in the agriculture and WASH sectors to further enhance a multi-sector approach to reduce stunting in Ethiopia.

The activity will develop and implement strategies to increase the reach and sustainability of interventions to the household level, increase ownership and involvement of government, collaborate with the private sector and other USAID activities to maximize impact, and introduce mechanisms to protect poor households’ investment gains or assets during shocks such as drought.