Millions of children miss out on growing to a healthy weight or height due to inadequate nutrition. Under-nutrition and malnutrition also contribute to child and maternal mortality worldwide. To reduce these risks and promote children’s physical and cognitive development, our campaigns encourage breastfeeding and the adoption of healthy, varied diets.


Unlocking physical and cognitive growth and development

At least one in three children under-5 worldwide is undernourished or overweight. In 2018, almost 200 million children were undernourished, not growing to a healthy height (stunting) or weight (wasting). These are clear symptoms of past deprivation and predictors of future poverty.

Furthermore, one in three children under-5 in Sub-Saharan Africa are stunted. Africa is the only continent where the number of stunted children is not declining. High malnutrition and stunting rates are caused by a combination of poor dietary diversity and low meal frequency, inadequate maternal nutrition, insufficient birth spacing, low rates of exclusive breastfeeding, poor sanitation and hygiene, insufficient crop management and inefficient agricultural production. To address these causes, millions of dollars are being invested in efforts to increase access to affordable, nutritious food. Equally, many nutrition behaviours are shaped by culture and habit, and are underpinned by a lack of knowledge and lack of equality between men and women within the household.

A man cooking with his daughter to signify the theme of this campaign: nutrition

The numbers

of children under 5 in Sub-Saharan Africa are stunted
200 million
children undernourished worldwide
A radio on a wall as an example of DMI's use of radio

Our nutrition work

Promoting key child and maternal nutrition behaviours

Radio, TV and mobile phones are the dominant information sources in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. Using mass media enables us to reach millions of people with messages that improve nutrition knowledge and change behaviours of thousands of people at a time

Many of our campaigns highlight the importance of nutrition, promoting it as an issue that concerns the whole family and is a worthwhile monetary investment. We share practical and realistic information about how to adopt affordable, nutritious and varied diets, and promote exclusive breastfeeding for children under 6 months and complementary feeding for children over 6 months. Our nutrition messaging closely relates to maternal and child health, hygiene, and early childhood development, meaning we often integrate messages related to these themes in our nutrition campaigns.