Home Health 5.9 Million Nigerian Children in Severe Food, Nutrition Crisis – UN

5.9 Million Nigerian Children in Severe Food, Nutrition Crisis – UN

UN Children Food Crisis
Students served lunch at Alduba Primary School as WfP’s home grown School feeding programs in Ethiopia’s South Omo zone. WFP supported Home-Grown School Feeding Program (HGSFP) was first launched in SNNPR in 2012 targeting 30,673 students located in 37 pre-primary and primary schools in seven woredas of Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region with the aim of providing safe, diversified, nutritious and more importantly locally produced school meals to support the regional government increasing school enrollment and retention rates while reducing dropout and school absenteeism of chronically food insecure pastoralist and agropastoral areas of the region. Over the years the program has expanded to increase its project woredas and target schools.I n the last scholastic calendar, first half of 2022, the program was able to reach over 57,000 school aged children attending pre-primary and primary schools in 7 project woredas, six from South Omo Zone and Alle Special woredas. As such the Fresh Food Inclusive School Meal was piloted in 12 targeted schools from two woredas of South Omo Zone (Bena Tsemay and Dassenech woreda) with the objective of filling the nutrient gap encountered with the existing menu. More precisely over 4,000 students have benefited from a diversified nutritious school meal provided by the pilot project that not only fills the students stomach but also their minds. During Sep-Dec 2022 the pilot project has expanded further reaching over 9,000 students with plans to reach over 15,000 students in 34 project schools in 2023. Similarly, WFP has financed and conducted an advocacy work for school gardening activities of the Fresh Food Inclusive School Meal targeted schools which regardless of some challenges has shown to be fruitful whereby most schools were able to produce garden vegetables that can complement the school meals.

Mohammed Fall, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, has said approximately 5.9 million Nigerian children are facing a severe food and nutrition crisis, the highest globally.

This was disclosed during the launch of the 2024 Lean Season Food Security and Nutrition Crisis multi-sector plan.

Fall said that the plan aims to align with ongoing government efforts in food assistance, healthcare, and water supply, focusing on states in the Northeast like Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe.

He noted that 700,000 children under the age of 5 are suffering from malnutrition in these states. Additionally, he emphasised that 4.8 million Nigerians are at risk of food crises during the lean season (June to September), exacerbated by flooding, inflation, and challenges accessing food due to the war in Ukraine.

He stated that a budget of N306 million is required to implement this year’s project, targeting 2.8 million people, to prevent the situation from worsening into a catastrophic one.

This development follows Nigeria’s declaration of a national emergency on food security on July 13, 2023, prompted by rising inflation, making essential food items unaffordable for many.

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