The First Foods Initiative

A sustainable solution to address malnutrition in West and Central Africa

A baby smiling as he is getting his mid-upper arm circumference measured


Despite progress in the prevalence of stunting in the last decades in West and Central Africa (WCAR), the number of children who are stunted increased by 6.5 million between 2000 and 2020, because of population growth, making WCAR off-track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and the only region where this number increased so dramatically.

Good nutrition is the cornerstone of survival, growth and development. Yet, in West and Central Africa, one child out of three is stunted. UNICEF is launching the “First Foods initiative”, to create a systemic, climate-change resilient, sustainable change to food systems in the region and unlock significant potential with a lasting impact on children, the environment, economies, and societies of West and Central Africa.

A cover of a concept note featuring a child sitting and eating