UNICEF was created in December 1946. Since then, it promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything they do. Together with partners, UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

In Ethiopia, UNICEF provided technical and financial support to the government to set up the National Nutrition Program (NNP) since 2008 to combat malnutrition, to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to scale up the implementation of the preventative Community-Based Nutrition (CBN) activities in the four largest regions in Ethiopia.

The project closely works with mothers to decrease numbers of early childbirth. Each year, 120,000 children die within 28 days after birth. UNICEF promotes the consumption of well-balanced energy or protein food rich in micronutrients (minerals) among adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women.This is linked with a holistic approach of child care practices including adequate breastfeeding or complementary feeding, hand-washing with soap and household water treatment.

Positive side effects have been recorded, e.g. women’s decision-making power relative to men’s has increased thanks to improved nutritional status of their children. As improvements in the nutritional status of women and girls will contribute to reducing gender inequality while at the same time breaking the cycle of intergenerational malnutrition. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are an essential part of human development and necessary for improving nutrition across the entire lifecycle. [Source: NNP 2013/2015]