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USAID Announces $200 Million Commitment to Tackle Child Wasting, the Largest Single Investment in Malnutrition Treatment in History

PRNewswire July 19, 2022

With co-investment from philanthropist Sir Chris Hohn, the CRI Foundation, the Eleanor Crook Foundation, and The ELMA Relief Foundation, this monumental commitment will drive more than a 50% increase in the number of severely malnourished children who receive treatment with Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a lifesaving, nutrient-dense, peanut-based therapeutic food. 

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ –┬áToday, USAID Administrator Samantha Power took a historic step forward in the fight against global malnutrition by announcing a US$200 million contribution to UNICEF to combat the deadliest form of malnutrition, child wasting. The Administrator was joined by philanthropist Sir Chris Hohn, the CRI Foundation (CRI), The Eleanor Crook Foundation (ECF), and The ELMA Relief Foundation who collectively committed at least an additional US$50 million in philanthropic resources to bring life-saving care to severely malnourished children around the globe.

Soaring food prices driven by the war in Ukraine, climate change shocks, conflict and the ongoing socio-economic impact of COVID-19 continue to drive up child wasting worldwide. Sustainably addressing wasting will require expanded and continued investment from all stakeholders. Participating philanthropies also committed to raising at least US$50 million more, to reach a target of US$100 million of their collective resources to address this growing crisis.

In the lead up to the 2022 UN General Assembly in September, USAID Administrator Power encouraged other bilateral donors, corporations, and country governments to come to the table with US$200 million in additional contributions, targeting a total of US$500 million in public-private investments. UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell joined the call on all donors to deliver both increased and sustained investment in wasting treatment for as long as it takes to turn the tide on this long-standing public health emergency.

“With three packets of so-called Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Food, or RUTF, a day for roughly six weeks, the vast majority of severely malnourished childrenÔÇösome 90 percent are able to recover, as opposed to some 90 percent who now perish,” said USAID Administrator Samantha Power. “Despite the power of this incredible tool in the fight against child wasting, it is drastically underutilized. Most parents who are able to bring their children to clinics to seek treatment are met with a lack of supply. Today, together, we are addressing that. With this commitment, we will help get this lifesaving care into the mouths of an additional 2.4 million childrenÔÇöthe largest leap in coverage on record.”

Child wasting is the deadliest form of malnutrition, but it is treatable in the form of Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF). These newly announced investments will drive more than a 50 percent increase in the provision of RUTF, the largest single expansion in treatment coverage in history, and help UNICEF scale up treatment of wasting for an additional 2.4 million children. Consisting mostly of peanuts, milk powder, and a blend of micronutrients, RUTF can bring a severely malnourished child back to health in a matter of weeks, for less than $1 a day. RUTF is among the most proven and cost-effective child survival interventions, and yet for many years, fewer than 1 in 4 severely malnourished children have had access to treatment.

“In the most affected countries, the escalating global food and nutrition crisis has pushed an additional child into severe malnutrition every minute this year,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “We know how to prevent and treat severe malnutrition in children. But we need to be given the means to make it happen. UNICEF is immensely grateful for this critical funding which will mean the difference between life and death for an additional 2.4 million children. And we cannot stop until we reach every child with effective programmes to prevent and treat malnutrition.”

“The world is in the midst of a growing food crisis, and many millions of families around the world are now on the verge of famine. This commitment from USAID is historic, timely, and it will save lives. RUTF is the most lifesaving food aid intervention, and much of it is produced right here in the U.S. We applaud USAID’s leadership during this moment of global crisis, and we are honored, as philanthropies, to help fund this initiative. We look forward to joining forces with additional co-funders to ensure that no child dies from malnutrition when we have such a cost-effective treatment available.” said William Moore, CEO of the Eleanor Crook Foundation.

“As a global community, we have gotten far too used to the idea that children and babies will die of malnutrition or wasting. We’ve treated this problem as if it’s intractable and inevitable. But frankly, we know that it’s not,” said Kara Weiss, Executive Director of the CRI Foundation. ┬á”RUTF is a proven, cost-effective solution, and it will bring a child back to health almost every time. Today’s announcement demonstrates that we are no longer willing to accept the status quo. With USAID’s commitment, together with the investment of private philanthropy, we will more than double the number of children who receive treatment, shifting the coverage rate from 25 percent to over 50 percent. Finally, it feels possible to imagine a world in which treatment for severe malnutrition is the norm, not the exception.”

“Leading humanitarian aid, international development, and private philanthropies are in agreement: We must prioritize RUTF so we can finally get ahead of the global malnutrition crisis and help children who are suffering worldwide,” said Sir Chris Hohn, philanthropist and Chair of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). “This partnership leverages the ingenuity of the public and private sectors to accelerate progress on one of the world’s most tragic and longstanding emergencies. It will positively impact millions of lives, and act as a catalyst for partner organizations to create the infrastructure needed to sustain this growth now and in the future.”

USAID, UNICEF, the Eleanor Crook Foundation, The ELMA Relief Foundation, The CRI Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation are calling on partners to join this effort by bringing additional, new resources to ensure wasting treatment is available to any child who needs it, and that efforts to prevent this deadly condition are expanded across high-risk communities. Together with others, the U.S. government will fortify the fight against severe malnutrition now and for years to come.

Interested co-investors should contact info@eleanorcrookfoundation.org to learn more.

Watch the livestream of the press event here.

About The Eleanor Crook Foundation (ECF)

The Eleanor Crook Foundation is a growing U.S. philanthropy fighting to end global malnutrition through research, policy analysis, and advocacy. For over 20 years, the Foundation has worked to scale improved solutions to child malnutrition with the ultimate goal of saving children’s lives and enabling them to excel in school, work, and beyond.

About the CRI Foundation

CRI Foundation is dedicated to reducing human suffering in low and middle income countries. The majority of CRI funding is allocated through flexible research funding, and grants to improve health outcomes in Africa.

About the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF)

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) is an independent philanthropic organisation, with offices in Addis Ababa, Beijing, London, Nairobi and New Delhi. Established in 2002, CIFF works with a wide range of partners seeking to transform the lives of children and adolescents in developing countries. Areas of work include adolescent sexual health, maternal and child health, opportunities for girls and young women, tackling child slavery and exploitation, and supporting smart ways to slow down and stop climate change.

About The ELMA Relief Foundation

The ELMA Relief Foundation, part of The ELMA Group of Foundations, invests in crisis response, recovery, and resilience efforts anywhere in the world, with an emphasis on children in Africa.


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org

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Mallory Royer,

SOURCE The Eleanor Crook Foundation

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