All children on track by Grade 4

nutritional stunting of
young children

The physical height of our children is a leading indicator of the future health of the nation, its social stability and its economic prospects. Yet we are trapped by poor nutrition that damages children before they go to school and impacts them into adulthood. We have yet to find a better predictor of an adult’s economic potential than their height at two years of age, and yet, even though we know this, a fifth to a quarter of children in South Africa are stunted (i.e. have a low height to age ratio).

Zero-stunting would mean that one million more young children are able to thrive each year – increasing our GDP by at least 2%.

We  will continue investing in a national zero-stunting campaign that seeks to intervene during the first 1 000 days of a child’s life by supporting parents and caregivers to encourage behaviour change and reduce rates of stunting. We are  exploring how we can leverage a ‘child-centred food systems’ approach to better understand and support initiatives that address food system reform, climate change and make early learning programmes hubs for nutrition. Alongside this work, we will continue to support research that measures the nutritional status, and development progress, of South Africa’s children, at both a provincial and district level, to build a strong evidence base where it has historically been sorely lacking. This growing body of research and evidence is building  support for the emergence of an advocacy coalition to promote nutrition and children’s well-being.

Our goal is to reduce the prevalence of stunting among children aged 0–5 by continuing to invest in a national zero-stunting campaign.

What we are working on…

  • Reducing the prevalence of stunting for children under five from approximately 23% to 16%.
  • Mobilising critical actors (state, civil society and business) towards the goal of zero-stunting.
  • Utilising an approach to food systems that reduces and prevents stunting.

DGMT’s Grow Great project aims to deliver a package of social and behaviour change interventions aimed at improving maternal and child health, nutrition and early childhood development practices.

Escaping the inequality trap requires a twist in our thinking.

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Flagship projects addressing this opportunity

Civil society projects addressing this opportunity

These projects are by no means a comprehensive list of the work of civil society. This list represents a small selection of organisations that will be updated from time to time

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Opportunities to escape the inequality trap