Overview – Programming to realize children's rights


Message from Dr. Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim – UNICEF Zambia Representative

unicef, zambia, country representative
© UNICEF Zambia/2013/Maseko
Dr. Hamid El Bashir Ibrahim, UNICEF Zambia Representative

A warm welcome to the UNICEF Zambia website.

I am excited that 2017 has continued to mark the implementation of the new UNICEF Zambia Country Programme which will run until 2020.

From 2016 to 2020, UNICEF Zambia shall implement a Country Programme that will further the realization and protection of the rights of children.

What does this mean to us? Allow me to share that the core programme priorities focus on stronger realization of child rights: improved under-five child survival, with an emphasis on the neonatal period; reduced stunting; improved education quality and learning outcomes; and strategic social protection and child protection interventions to benefit the most vulnerable children and adolescents. Stronger programme convergence – in geographic and policy terms – is central to maximizing impact for children. Cross-sectoral coordination is at the core of programme implementation strategies.

The economic consequences of malnutrition which represent losses of 11 percent of gross domestic product every year, whereas preventing malnutrition delivers 16 dollars in returns on investment for every one dollar spent.

Investing in stunting reduction is well reflected in the Government of the Republic of Zambia policy. This unprecedented increase of the nutrition profile culminated with the adhesion to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement in 2011 and endorsement of the Nutrition For Growth Compact in 2013 at the G8 summit’s nutrition side event, as well the African Union’s Malabo Declaration in 2014. UNICEF’s Country Programme is built in line with the country commitment for Nutrition, with the purpose of providing technical and financial support for policy design and strategy development, nutrition programming and service delivery, monitoring and evaluation.

The National Food and Nutrition Commission has been instrumental to multisector coordination of nutrition-relevant sectors through a well functional Multi Stakeholder Platform that brings together different networks, i.e. Government, Academia and Research, United Nations, Donors, and Private Sector.

Hamid lending a helping hand to the girls in Mongu
© UNAIDS/2016/Acharya
UNICEF Representative Dr. Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim lends a hand to the girls with carrying water.

Nutrition-specific services were delivered to communities through the health system consisting of preventative services, i.e. promotion of adequate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices and micronutrient interventions, and treatment of acute malnutrition. With funding from the European Union through the Millennium Development Goals initiative, increased number of districts and health facilities staff underwent in-service training and mentorship to ensure sufficient coverage of services like IYCF counselling with cooking demonstrations and vitamin A supplementation. The twice-yearly Child Health Week has been systematically conducted, reaching about 2.8 million children under the age of five years with a package of interventions including vitamin A supplements. The solutions to improved micronutrient intakes also include food fortification and promotion of diet diversification. Manufacturers continued sugar fortification with vitamin A, and the Universal Salt Iodization programme has been allowing border control of transporters to ensure that salt consumed in country is adequately iodised. Lastly the roadmap for rolling out maize meal fortification with multiple micronutrient is being finalized. Overall, the budget allocation to nutrition increased from 17.1 million kwacha in 2013 to 31.4 million kwacha in 2017.

The commitment is strong, the investments huge, but the needs are colossal. The recommendable next steps for a sustained reduction of stunting are as follows:

  • The government to take leadership in the micronutrient approaches and consider a situation analysis as regard current micronutrient status and food intakes patterns in communities, as well as the potential for diversification, in view of refining the strategies.
  • The government to invest in mainstreaming nutrition in nutrition-relevant sectors to ensure that sector plans include nutrition-sensitive interventions, known to be highly contributive to stunting reduction.



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