Every year, 3.5 million mothers and children under five die due to malnutrition. The 1,000 Days movement is a unified call to action to individuals, businesses, NGOs, and political leaders to impact malnutrition during the first 1,000 days from pregnancy to age 2. This movement was kicked off this morning at an event co-hosted by United States Seceretary of State Hillary Clinton and Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin. World leaders came together to discuss how to reduce childhood undernutrition and scale up nutrition programs.
Foreign Minister Martin’s opening words captured a thematic message saying “there is strength in unity.” The unity theme carried throughout the presentations, examples, and most importantly through the call to action to bring leaders and supporters together to create measurable and sustainable action.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon raised awareness. He did this by giving evidence-based examples of how the UN Task Force on the Global Food Crisis and the Hunger Task Force have identified the need to link agriculture, health, and social connections. The Secretary-General noted that the 1,000 Days movement and Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) framework focuses on a key window of time to impact the health of women, mothers, and babies across the world.
We can save lives in 1,000 days. Sam Kuteesa, Minister of Foreign Affiars of Uganda, shared that we can save and improve the quality of lives by scaling up nutrition and agriculture initiatives. We have evidence that works. We know that washing hands, sanitation, diet, fortified foods, and zinc help save lives. With the support of public private partnerships and government interventions we can combat malnutrition.
We must include adolescent girls and address their needs. Maria Eitel of the Nike Foundation put out an urgent call to reach the 600 million adolescent girls in poverty today. She said that 40% of girls are anemic and 70% of school-aged girls are out of school. The clock is ticking and if we reach these girls before puberty we can help them and help give their future children a healthier start.
Together we can take these words and turn them into meaningful actions. “It is up to us to follow that [nutrition] roadmap to our destination,” said Secretary Clinton who co-hosted the event. The 1,000 Days movement calls for community support and mobilization to turn policy into on the ground action. Find out more at http://www.thousanddays.org/