The Challenge: How to end hunger by 2030?
Globally in 2016, 22.9% or 154.8 million children under 5 years of age suffered from child stunting, defined by a low height-for-age. Child stunting can happen in the first 1000 days after conception and is related to many factors, including socioeconomic status,1 dietary intake, infections, maternal nutritional status, infectious diseases, micronutrient deficiencies and the environment.
Stunted children with deficiencies of iodine and iron may suffer irreversible brain damage, impeding them from reaching their complete developmental potential. They have a shorter adult height and a higher susceptibility to chronic diseases in adulthood, lower attained schooling and reduced adult income. Stunted and wasted children also have a higher mortality risk, which is increased when the two conditions coexist in the same population.
The Lead2030 Challenge for SDG2 supported by RB launched a global search for impactful youth-led initiatives that tackle stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age or address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, older persons or pregnant and lactating women.
Bonita Sharma, SOCHAI
At the core of SOCHAI's social business model is the belief that global malnutrition can be prevented with access to simple and affordable solutions.
As a part of the 'Youth For Nutrition' project, SOCHAI is implementing several innovative community based learning programs that are contributing to accelerating impact for SDG 2 - Zero Hunger - aiming to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030, and addressing the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly.
The project is a combination of service and products designed to maximize output. SOCHAI creates and implements educational programs for different groups such as health workers, mothers' groups, adolescent girls and school children. To deliver this service, Bonita and her team select, train and recruit young volunteers working at ground level to implement these programs.
In addition SOCHAI has created innovative tools such as the ‘Nutribeads Bracelet’, a low-tech educational bracelet that helps mothers learn how to feed their child up to age two.
SOCHAI is incorporating social entrepreneurship into it’s non-profit model by involving local artisans and women in making and selling Nutribead Bracelets, helping them to find a way out of poverty and in turn, malnutrition.
Bonita’s team have already reached 600+ mothers, children and 3000+ adolescents through SOCHAI’s community-based learning programs - all led by young people. Through online advocacy campaigns, they have reached almost 90,000 people with information on breastfeeding, menstruation taboos, complementary feeding and other public health issues.