Micronutrient Initiative receives $130 million from Government of Canada

Investment will improve the health and nutrition for millions of vulnerable women and children around the world

OTTAWA, CANADA – Tens of millions of the world’s most vulnerable, especially women and children, will be reached with critical nutrition interventions and support thanks to $130 million in new funding announced by the Government of Canada for the Micronutrient Initiative (MI).

“This investment will help secure a better future for the poorest women and children in some of the hardest hit countries in the world – improving their health, their capacity to learn and earn, and helping them to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and undernutrition,” said MI President Joel Spicer. “The support from Canada is game-changing and will help propel MI to a new level of impact as a global nutrition organization.”

The announcement of $130 million over five years was made by the Minister for International Development, Christian Paradis, at a landmark global conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Third International Financing for Development Conference, which focused on financing the social development goals.  MI hosted a side event on financing nutrition, at which the Minister made the commitment.

Malnutrition remains one of the most persistent global challenges, limiting human potential, undermining the development progress of more than two billion people and affecting every region of the globe. Among pregnant women, undernutrition increases the chances of pregnancy complications, low birth weight and pre-term deliveries that put babies at greater risk of death, stunting, and cognitive impairment that affects their later life. The result is a vicious cycle of undernutrition that is passed from generation to generation.

With this investment, MI will ensure children get the right start in life through better nutrition. Programs in more than 10 countries will promote improved nutrition during the critical 1000-day period (between conception and a child’s second birthday) and will also include efforts to scale up better nutrition for adolescent girls, improving their chances to be healthier and more productive adults and helping to ensure they enter their child-bearing years stronger so that their children are also stronger.

The investment will also allow MI to enter into new and innovative partnerships, to explore and adopt new business models, and to ensure an integrated approach to the delivery of health services through existing platforms, in order to leverage greater impact.

“We are very proud to partner with the Micronutrient Initiative to advance Canada’s top development priority – maternal, newborn, and child health,” said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie‎. “Nutrition is absolutely critical to the health and survival of mothers and children, especially for vulnerable populations around the world. With Canada’s continued support and leadership, we are confident these programs and initiatives undertaken by the Micronutrient Initiative will have significant impact on child survival and maternal health.”

MI is a “made-in-Canada” global development leader that has a 20-year track record of generating massive impact. For example, with support from Canada, MI has procured the bulk of the world’s supply of vitamin A capsules for children in need. Vitamin A improves health, averts blindness, and has contributed to saving 4 million children’s lives around the world since 1998. Last year alone, MI reached 500 million people with life-saving and life-enhancing nutrition interventions.

“With this new support, Canada is again investing in low-cost, high-impact solutions that work,” said Joel Spicer. “Investments in nutrition save lives, build better futures and help break the cycle of poverty. It is an example of Canada’s track record of global leadership in nutrition and its generosity and commitment to the most vulnerable.

The funding from Canada will support the following:

  • Better Nutrition for Better Lives

Canada’s $100 million investment in this global initiative (2015-2020) will help advance Canada’s top development priority of strengthening MNCH by providing life-saving nutrition interventions for women, newborns and children.

  • Integrated Nutrition Project in Kolda and Kédougou, Senegal

Canada’s $20 million contribution to this initiative (2015-2020) will support efforts to improve the nutritional status of women and children, in the Kolda and Kédougou regions of Senegal.

  • Support to Child Survival in Ethiopia

Canada’s $9.93 million support to this project (2014-2016) will help improve the access of 2.2 million Ethiopian children to highly effective care to prevent and treat malnutrition.