Pro-active in the fight against malnutrition

UNICEF South Africa is sensitive to the nutrition crisis - finding inventive & creative solutions to mitigate the effects of malnutrition & help raise healthy & thriving children.

Fundraising team
04 November 2020

The number of children in South Africa who are living in multidimensional poverty - without access to basic health and nutrition, education, housing, sanitation or water - has increased during COVID-19. Government intervention has been stretched thin and humanitarian organizations have had to scale up interventions - especially with regard to the nutrition crisis. UNICEF South Africa is sensitive to these needs and continues to find inventive and creative solutions to mitigate the effects of malnutrition and help raise healthy children. 

In a recent blog, the facts and alarming statistics about malnutrition were outlined. But there is no denying that the effective prevention of malnutrition among children requires collective responsibility. The private and public sector, partnering with UNICEF South Africa initiatives and programmes to support the basic health and nutrition rights of all children in under-resourced and vulnerable communities, is an effective way to address this crisis. 

#MOVE4CHANGE is one such campaign. Its focus is challenging fellow South Africans to impact the futures of children by getting active and healthy at the same time.


We cannot fail a generation

“Children must not become the face of the pandemic”

Dr Mariame Sylla, Chief of Health, HIV/AIDS and Nutrition at UNICEF South Africa.
UNICEF South Africa/2004/Pirozzi

Dealing with COVID-19 means dealing with child nutrition. Even though UNICEF South Africa does not provide food directly, it is committed to helping in the identification of areas in our country and partner with other role-players where malnutrition is rampant so that interventions can be put in place. UNICEF is also involved in defining health guidelines to ensure that any food distributed adheres to certain nutrition standards. Calling for a Food and Nutrition Advisory Council to become functional to address issues of child nutrition is one of UNICEF South Africa’s advocacy priorities. 

I want to add my name to #MOVE4CHANGE.

We have to fight for their futures

The impact of COVID-19 may have touched everyone, but it has not affected everyone equally; the poor living in vulnerable communities have been more severely affected in the areas of unemployment, access to education, basic healthcare services and nutrition. 

Our future generations need more than just an opportunity to survive - they seek the chance to thrive. UNICEF South Africa is for every child, and safeguarding children by helping them grow and thrive is the responsibility of all - from government to schools to households. 

In working with the Health Department, UNICEF South Africa supports programmes that address undernutrition and overnutrition, ensuring that mothers and children have access to services that promote the healthy growth and development of children as well as the prevention, early identification and management of malnutrition. This includes community breastfeeding programmes, support and education in helping to reduce the high percentage (27%) of stunting among SA children that has been caused by chronic undernutrition. 

I want to take action and impact futures.


We have to empower our children

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Chinese proverb

Educating and empowering our youth is an integral component to changing the narrative and the malnutrition statistics. Implementing healthy and nutritious eating habits is a key challenge and a wonderful opportunity for communities to take ownership of their futures. 

In under-resourced areas where UNICEF South Africa has been active in building permanent handwashing stations at schools, these schools are encouraged to grow a food garden around the handwashing station to benefit from the run-off water. The vegetables grown are to be used to supplement school meals. In doing so, the nutrition and overall health and development of the learners are further enhanced.

UNICEF South Africa/2020/Ghartey

In February 2020, an exciting partnership with UNICEF South Africa and Baz-Art (a local Arts organization) was launched. The incentive was to create a Safe Parks pilot project in establishing a community garden for local children in Salt River, Cape Town, transforming a dumping ground into a community veggie garden. The project was rolled out in Soweto-Freedom Park in March 2020 with plans for a similar initiative in Durban.  

 I want to change lives and empower our youth.

“The purpose of the project is to encourage and enable young people to become productive members of society.”

Alexandre Tilmans, Baz-Art’s manager

UNICEF South Africa - for every child

#MOVE4CHANGE is a health-focused awareness campaign and challenge. It is a call to all South Africans to join UNICEF South Africa and reimagine healthier futures for vulnerable children in our communities. Every name counts and every name gets added to our “Wall of Heroes.”

The challenge is really simple: dedicate your next workout to children in need. 

  • Run or walk 3km.
  • Pledge your support with a monthly donation.
  • Share a picture of your challenge completion on social media using #Move4Change and nominate a friend to join in.

Add your name, and play an active role in empowering children and fighting for their futures.