New Fund to Leverage Investments to Address Child Undernutrition

New Fund to Leverage Investments to Address Child Undernutrition

A group of international development organizations and private foundations has announced the launch of Power of Nutrition, an independent fund based in the United Kingdom that aims to leverage up to $1 billion in funding to address child undernutrition.

Backed by investments from the Children's Investment Fund Foundation ($55 million), UBS Optimus Foundation (up to $26 million), and the UK Department for International Development (up to $47 million), Power of Nutrition will launch with arrangements in place to unlock an initial $200 million in funding. The resources will be channeled through a new World Bank Group trust fund of at least $55 million and UNICEF's matched-funding mechanism; it's expected that the new WBG fund will leverage at least another $100 million from the bank's International Development Association to encourage national governments to allocate more funding to nutrition programs. According to Power of Nutrition, every dollar invested will be multiplied up to six times with new financing secured from other funders.

Undernutrition is the underlying cause of nearly three million child deaths a year and affects almost four in ten children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Power of Nutrition will finance large-scale, high-impact nutrition programs aimed at providing the right nutrients and care early in life so children's brains and bodies develop to their full potential, improving their health, education, and future livelihoods.

"We believe that undernutrition is one of the world's most serious but least addressed public health challenges," said World Bank managing director and COO Sri Mulyani Indrawati. "Children who escape undernutrition are 33 percent more likely to escape poverty as adults. Countries in Africa and Asia are losing up to 11 percent of their GDP to undernutrition. We want children and countries to reach their full potential. This is why we are tracking stunting as a predictor of development and see initiatives like the Power of Nutrition as key to achieving our goal of ending extreme poverty."