The Government and the World Bank on Wednesday signed a $55 million (approx. Rwf46bn) deal to reduce stunting rates among children under age five in 13 of Rwanda’s most stunting-prone districts.
Claver Gatete, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and Yasser El-Gammal the World Bank Country Manager signed on behalf of their respective institutions, according to a statement.
Of the $55 million approved, a $25 million credit will be provided by the International Development Association (IDA), and the rest is a grant jointly provided by The Power of Nutrition ($ 20 million) and the Global Financing Facility ($10 million).
The targeted districts include: Nyabihu, Ngororero, Karongi, Rubavu, Rutsiro, Rusizi, Nyamagabe, Huye, Nyaruguru, Ruhango, Gakenke, Kayonza and Bugesera.
Rwanda Stunting Prevention and Reduction Project (SPRP) will support community-based approaches, improve the delivery of high-impact nutrition and health interventions, incentivize frontline community health workers and health personnel, strengthen accountability mechanisms, and promote a learning-by-doing approach to draw lessons on what works and how it can be scaled up.
SPRP will focus on children under five (particularly children under two to reach them in the critical 1,000-day window of opportunity, before stunting becomes largely irreversible), as well as pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls and poorest households.
“The project will support the Government to adopt and implement a bold strategy to improve the visibility of stunting in Rwanda, and to deliver harmonized behavior change messages across various platforms,” Gatete is quoted in the statement.
“What is transformational and ambitious in this project is the engagement in interventions across multiple sectors, leveraging and strengthening existing and new institutional structures to mobilize stakeholders; improve ownership and accountability; and ensure convergence of key interventions at the household and individual levels,” he added.
“We look forward to the government’s leadership on this important agenda, and to working with it to add stunting reduction to Rwanda’s numerous achievements. Bringing all partners together and ensuring seamless coordination with the work supported by all development partners will be key to its success,” said Yasser El-Gammal, the World Bank Country Manager.
According to DHS 2015, stunting was on average of 38% Countrywide and investing in Early Childhood Development (ECD) will serve as an entry point for addressing malnutrition, in line with the recently issued ECD policy.
Under this project the support will be provided to strengthen home-based ECD sites.