Japanese funding boosts nutrition projects for vulnerable communities

WINDHOEK: The Japanese government has funded two joint projects aimed at increasing access to quality nutrition for vulnerable Namibian communities to the tune of N.dollars 23.5 million over a period of 12 months. The joint projects between the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations aim to 'Increase access to quality nutrition and protection services for vulnerable populations, including women and children, in the Omaheke, Khomas and Kunene Regions.' Another initiative, 'Emergency response to enhance resilience and mitigate climate-induced impacts on livelihoods, food and nutrition security of the most vulnerable household in Namibia in the Kavango East, Kavango West and Ohangwena Regions,' was also launched. Speaking at the launch here on Monday, Japan's Ambassador to Namibia, Hisao Nishimaki said the projects are funded under the Japan Supplementary Budget in support of the efforts of the Namibian Government. He said since 2013, 24 projects h ave been funded and implemented successfully by various United Nations agencies to a total cost of N.dollars 320 million, excluding the two newly launched projects. 'The need for support in the health and agriculture sectors is great since everybody needs health care and it is said that more than 70 per cent of the Namibian population depends on agriculture directly or indirectly,' he said. At the same event, WHO and FAO representative Dr Mary Brantuo said the projects will be carried out through the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, as well as regional councils. She noted that the projects will increase access to nutrition interventions to prevent and manage malnutrition among women and children in their immediate communities; strengthen the protection of women and children against violence, exploitation and abuse; diversify rural livelihoods; and enhance food production capacity through the distribution of strategic assets and agro-inputs, amon gst others. 'Together we can make a tangible difference in the lives of those who need it most,' she said. Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Kalumbi Shangula meanwhile said the scourge of malnutrition is being experienced in several communities in Namibia. 'While it is a complex matter, the simplest understanding of malnutrition refers to the lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough to eat, not eating enough of the right food, or the body of the person affected not being able to use the food that one does eat. For this reason, dealing with and eradicating malnutrition requires a multisectoral, whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach,' he noted. Source: The Namibia Press Agency