UNICEF and NCDA roll out campaign to combat malnutrition in children

16 December 2022

KIGALI, RWANDA – 16 December 2022 | Rwanda has made significant progress in reducing stunting. However, child malnutrition continues to be a key challenge in the country.  

With financial support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, UNICEF Rwanda and the National Child Development Agency (NCDA) are launching a nation-wide campaign to tackle child malnutrition. 

Dubbed the “One Egg Per Child, Everyday” campaign, it aims to reach Rwandans from all walks of life with critical messaging about the importance of feeding children eggs from an early age (after 6 months of age following exclusive breastfeeding), to ensure a diet that supports their healthy growth and development.

Adequate nutrition is essential for a good start in life,” says Julianna Lindsey, UNICEF Country Representative. “With child malnutrition remaining a key challenge in Rwanda, raising awareness and reaching communities with key messaging is critical to build a strong foundation for children.”

As part of this campaign, UNICEF Rwanda and NCDA partnered with the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) and others to leverage the football World Cup as a strategic opportunity to disseminate key messages on stunting reduction. Key components include community sensitization on animal source food consumption and the promotion of supportive home and community environments for young children.

World Cup matches are being screened in 14 districts with high levels of stunting, culminating with the final match to be screened in Musanze District on 18 December 2022.  

Rwanda’s social and economic development depends on investment in human capital. Healthy nutrition builds the foundation that children need to develop and thrive,” says Matthijs Wolters, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Rwanda.

The World Cup in My Village marks the start of a long-term campaign on nutrition with a focus on stunting reduction through animal source food consumption, contributing to Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Rwanda. The campaign also emphasises the importance of men in supporting children’s nutrition and overall ECD. 

For NCDA, reducing stunting and promoting children’s overall health and nutrition is a key priority in Rwanda,” says Nadine Gatsinzi Umutoni, Director General at NCDA. “The campaign will make an important contribution towards these goals.



Notes to editors:

In 2017, UNICEF Rwanda and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands established a partnership for a five-year programme “Developing Human Capital in Rwanda (DHCR) - Harnessing the Power of Integrated Programming for Nutrition and ECD”. The DHCR programme aimed to increase human capital development in 14 districts of Rwanda by establishing optimal conditions for children (aged 0-6 years) to achieve their full potential and build a strong foundation to develop into adolescents with key problem-solving and socio-emotional competencies.

Up to June 2022, the DHCR programme has successfully contributed to addressing stunting, which dropped from 38 percent in 2014-2015 to 33 percent in 2019-2020. In addition, the proportion of children aged 3-5 who are developmentally on track increased from 63 percent to 76 percent over the same period. 

The programme also supported the implementation of the National Strategy on Early Childhood Development through the establishment of district Centers of Excellence for ECD, as well as community-based, home-based, and market-based ECD facilities that significantly increased the access of young children to ECD and nutrition services. Several innovative models were developed and implemented, such as kitchen gardens, nutrition-sensitive community Volunteer Lending and Saving Associations (VLSA), and peer-to-peer support on maternal, infant, and young child feeding practices (MIYCF).

Through the ECD centers, the programme enabled the improvement of knowledge and awareness among parents, caregivers, and community members around the causes of stunting, and optimal infant and young child feeding practices. The community-led structures have created ownership and empowered communities to plan and address issues around malnutrition and child development. The programme supported and worked with an integrated strategy and multiple coordination mechanisms both at the national and decentralized level including establishing and strengthening committees for district plans to eliminate malnutrition, which play an essential role in combatting both acute and chronic malnutrition at the district levels, in line with the Rwanda national nutrition policy.

However, significant challenges remain linked to the socio-economic impact of COVID-19. Lockdown and social distancing measures sharply curtailed economic activities in 2020, causing the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to record a contraction of 3.4 percent in 2020 compared to a projected expansion of 8 percent before the COVID-19 outbreak. Reduced family income and food insecurity have posed additional difficulties in the household that may have slowed down or reversed the progress of malnutrition reduction. Without substantial additional investment and efforts, the country risks failing to achieve the ambitious target of reducing stunting to 19 percent by 2024.

Media contacts

Christopher Kip
Chief of Communication, Advocacy and Partnerships, a.i
Steve Nzaramba
Communication Specialist
Tel: +250 786 384 106


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child; in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Rwanda, visit www.unicef.org/Rwanda or follow UNICEF Rwanda on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.