SOURCE: Micronutrient Initiative

Micronutrient Initiative

May 18, 2016 01:30 ET

Right Start Initiative to Scale Up Nutrition for 100 Million Women and Girls -- Launched Today by the Micronutrient Initiative

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK--(Marketwired - May 18, 2016) - One hundred million women and girls worldwide will have access to better nutrition thanks to the Right Start Initiative launched today by the Micronutrient Initiative (MI), with the support of the Government of Canada.

Malnutrition remains one of the most persistent barriers to human development and it limits the capacity of generation after generation of women and girls to grow, learn, earn and lead. One billion women and girls are malnourished -- and the cost of that lost potential undermines global progress in multiple areas of human endeavour, including our capacity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Today, Canada reinforced its global leadership on nutrition by supporting the Micronutrient Initiative in launching the Right Start Initiative, a ground-breaking investment platform with aim of reaching 100 million women and girls with improved nutrition by 2020.

"We are in 2016 and yet one billion women and girls around the world are malnourished. Canada recognizes the importance of investing in initiatives like Right Start to change the status quo for women and girls around the world," said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada's Minister for International Development and La Francophonie.

The Right Start Initiative has five strategic pillars, including high impact programs, partnerships, resource mobilization, technical assistance and advocacy. Right Start aims to rally the international development community to generate the know-how, resources and solutions necessary to empower women and girls through improved nutrition.

With $75 million in anchor support already invested by the Government of Canada, MI is launching programs in nine countries across Africa and Asia that will reach 50 million women and adolescent girls by 2020.

Now, MI is using those strategic investments as a launch point for leveraging additional support, from donors, countries and partners, to double its impact. Canada's support has already generated additional support, including a $1.5 million investment from the Australian Agency for International Development and a strategic partnership with the government of Indonesia to improve nutrition for one million pregnant women and children in two of Indonesia's high burden provinces.

"Malnutrition is one of humanity's longest running battles," said Joel Spicer, President and CEO of the Micronutrient Initiative. "The question all of us need to start asking is how do we bring about the beginning of the end of malnutrition? Initiatives like Right Start are a spark that moves us closer to the answer. It starts by doing much more for women and girls."

Note to Editors

1. About the Right Start Initiative

High-impact programs: Programs will support the scale up of packages of interventions that include micronutrient supplements and/or fortified foods, and improving their consumption by adolescent girls and women of reproductive age.

Partnerships: MI and strategic partners combine expertise, knowledge and investment in order to innovate, enhance effectiveness and accelerate and improve reach and impact.

Resource mobilization: Building on Canada's anchor investment of $75 million, MI will be reaching out to global nutrition donors, foundations, and the private sector to mobilize additional resources to finance high-impact nutrition programs targeting women and girls.

Technical leadership, evidence-generation and action: MI is committing resources and capacity to bridge the divide between evidence and action by generating evidence of what works -- particularly around how to scale up nutrition services -- and providing technical assistance in order to support greater impact.

Advocacy: To increase political will, national investment and help recruit women and girls' nutrition champions.

2. About the Right Start Initiative Launch

Right Start Initiative will be launched on May 18 in Copenhagen at the Women Deliver conference -- largest gathering on women's and girls' health, rights, and wellbeing in more than a decade -- at an event moderated by Femi Oke of Al Jazeera English. Event participants include Dr Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada's Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Phyllis Costanza, CEO of the UBS Optimus Foundation, Gerda Verburg, Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, and Joel Spicer, President and CEO of the Micronutrient Initiative.

3. About the Micronutrient Initiative (MI)

The Micronutrient Initiative (MI) is a Canada-based, international not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the world's most vulnerable -- especially women and children -- in developing countries get access to the nutrition they need to survive and thrive. Our mission is to be a global leader in advancing integrated, innovative and sustainable solutions to reduce micronutrient deficiencies through advocacy, technical, and programmatic support, in collaboration with others. Through investments from Canada and other generous donors, we reach 500 million people in more than 70 countries each year.

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