The Child Nutrition Fund
Accelerating the scale-up of sustainable policies, programmes and supplies to end child wasting.
What is the Child Nutrition Fund?
The Child Nutrition Fund (CNF) is a new financing mechanism designed to accelerate the scale-up of sustainable policies, programmes and supplies to end child wasting.
Why do we need a Child Nutrition Fund?
Because child wasting is a tragedy. In 2020, an estimated 45 million children globally were estimated to be suffering from wasting in early life. About one-third of them require therapeutic feeding and care. Despite two decades of progress in reducing child malnutrition globally, the number of children with wasting is rising due to a perfect storm of increasing inequities, conflict and climate-driven crises.
Because child wasting is preventable. Wasting doesn’t happen when nutritious diets, essential nutrition services and positive nutrition and care practices are available to women and children. However, the prevention of wasting can’t be achieved with only short-term funding, available only during emergencies and earmarked only for treatment.
Because we can and must act fast. The current global and national responses to child wasting are woefully inadequate, particularly in high-prevalence, high-mortality settings. We can and must transform how we protect children from life-threatening wasting in early life. And this transformation starts with a fundamental shift in the way global and national responses to protect children from wasting in early childhood are financed and implemented.
Who is the Child Nutrition Fund for?
The CNF is designed to support government-led efforts in some of the countries that carry among the highest numbers and/or proportion of children under 5 years of age with wasting.
As such, the CNF will support government-led efforts in countries that have developed operational roadmaps as part of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Action Plan (GAP) on Child Wasting. As of July 2023, the GAP includes the following 23 countries:
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Timor-Leste and Yemen.
What actions will the Child Nutrition Fund scale up?
The CNF is designed to support the scale-up of five essential government-led actions for the early prevention, detection and treatment of child wasting in early childhood, as described in the GAP, recognizing that implementing partners may need to support the direct delivery of these interventions during humanitarian crises. These five actions, selected based on their proven impact, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, are:
- Support for exclusive and continued breastfeeding in the first two years of life, with responsive feeding, stimulation and care, including adequate counselling and support to caregivers and families.
- Adequate complementary foods, with micronutrient supplements (i.e., vitamin A) and home fortification with micronutrient powders, including timely and quality counselling and support to caregivers and families.
- Weight gain monitoring, nutrition counselling, micronutrient supplements (multiple micronutrient supplements or iron folic acid), deworming prophylaxis, and malaria control for women, particularly during pregnancy.
- Early detection of child wasting using mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) measurement and treatment with ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF) through community-based programmes, with adequate training, supervision and referral.
- Food supplements for young children under 5 years of age (i.e., small-quantity lipid-nutrient supplements) and for women, particularly those who are pregnant and breastfeeding (i.e. balanced energy-protein supplements).
How will the Child Nutrition Fund add value?
The CNF aims to improve the coordination and transparency of financing for wasting by offering UNICEF and its partners a range of tools designed to achieve three specific goals:
Goal 1: Incentivize, increase and prioritize the allocation of global resources to essential programmes and supplies for the early prevention, detection and treatment of child wasting.
Goal 2: Incentivize, increase and prioritize the allocation of domestic resources to programmes and essential supplies for the early prevention, detection and treatment of child wasting.
Goal 3: Ensure greater availability, accessibility and timeliness of essential supplies for the early prevention, detection and treatment of child wasting.
How will the Child Nutrition Fund reach these goals?
The CNF aims to reach these three goals through working in partnership with governments and investors on coordination and advocacy and using three ‘windows’ that aim to incentivize, increase and prioritize the allocation of global and domestic resources to essential programmes and supplies for the early prevention, detection and treatment of child wasting:
The Programme Window is designed to increase the amount of global funding available for the early prevention, detection and treatment of child wasting, and ensure that resources prioritize evidence-based actions across the continuum of prevention-detection-treatment. It does so by: 1) identifying investment needs; 2) developing robust investment propositions; 3) tracking global allocations against needs; 4) monitoring and reporting on the effectiveness of allocations; and 5) using this information to identify key investment gaps and advocating for a reprioritization of partner contributions.
The Match Window is a catalytic one-to-one matching mechanism that allows national governments to double their investment in essential services and supplies for the prevention, detection and treatment of child wasting to the extent (upper limit) of the funding available in the Match Instrument. Funding for the procurement of essential nutrition supplies (both domestic funding and match funding) must include funding for the implementation of the programme that will deliver the supplies.
The Supplier Window offers a range of financing tools to support producers of essential nutrition supplies in delivering their commodities in the amounts required and in a timely manner to point of use. This includes pre-financing tools to enable producers of essential nutrition supplies to increase the volumes they produce; financial options to facilitate access to loans from local financial institutions; and improved visibility on demand.
Find out more
The Child Nutrition Fund is a new financing mechanism designed to accelerate the scale-up of sustainable policies, programmes and supplies to end child wasting.
The CNF is designed to support government-led efforts in a selected number of countries that carry some of the highest numbers and/or proportion of children under 5 years of age with wasting.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; CIFF; UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office; and UNICEF