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Six key challenges to improving nutrition through social protection in the Sahel and West Africa

Blogs 14/02/2017

By Jennifer Sheahan, OECD Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat 

The Sahel and West Africa region is home to some of the most nutritionally insecure people in the world. In 2015, 19 to 21 million children in the region under the age of five were affected by stunting. This figure is growing and may exceed 22 million by 2025. Today, strong evidence exists linking social protection to improved nutrition. In December 2016, the 32nd Annual RPCA Meeting focused political attention on some of the key challenges to be overcome in this area.

Prevalence of stunting

First, links between humanitarian assistance and social protection systems must be strengthened. Humanitarian assistance provides short-term relief in emergency situations. By contrast, social protection increases resilience over the long term by enhancing the capacity of vulnerable groups to escape from poverty and better manage risks. Synergies between humanitarian assistance and social protection systems must be forged so that they complement each other, providing support in response to specific shocks and helping populations to build resilience over time against future shocks.

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