The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Global Affairs Canada, through the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), are contributing $1.16 million to support researchers from Vietnam’s National Institute of Nutrition and Canada’s Ryerson University to implement proven methods to improve children’s health. Researchers will work to increase local production and distribution of complementary and therapeutic foods for children that are high in nutrients and energy dense, such as micronutrient-enriched pastes, bars, instant flours, and pablums.
The project will run in three rural regions of northern Vietnam, directly benefiting an estimated 15,000 of the country’s most malnourished children. Malnutrition affects an estimated 780,000 children in Vietnam annually.
Crops will be purchased directly from women farmers in rural Vietnam, then processed in local, small-scale facilities into ready-to-use nutritious foods. These foods will be distributed through a supply chain that includes public health providers and nutrition counselling centres. More than 1,500 mothers annually will receive advice and counselling on child feeding practice at these nutrition centres.
The Vietnam Women's Union will liaise with women farmers, who will receive training through the project on agricultural practices, post-harvest crop handling, food safety, and the formation of producers' associations.
"As part of our commitment to becoming a leader in development innovation and effectiveness, our Government will look for evidence-based solutions to help the world’s poorest and most vulnerable,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie. “As such we are proud of the collaboration that will deliver the therapeutic nutrition Vietnam's poorest children need to survive and thrive.”
“IDRC is taking an innovative, knowledge-based approach to arrive at nutrition solutions, so children in Vietnam, and elsewhere, can have healthier lives and brighter futures,” said IDRC President Jean Lebel.
In 2014, Vietnam was confirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada's international development efforts.
Canada's current development cooperation program in Vietnam responds to the Government of Vietnam's poverty reduction priorities and focuses on improving the enabling environment for investment and to support rural enterprise development and agricultural competitiveness.
Malnutrition affects an estimated 780,000 children in Vietnam annually: 210,000 of them are severely malnourished, 27.5% of children are stunted, and 16.8% are underweight.
Canada’s IDRC has invested approximately $30 million in 128 projects in Vietnam since 1991.
IDRC is a key strategic partner of Global Affairs Canada in the implementation of Canada's strategy on Food Security.
The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund is a program of Canada's International Development Research Centre undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada. It supports partnerships between Canadian and developing-country research organizations, linking scientific knowledge, policies, programs, and practical activities. www.idrc.ca/cifsrf
Part of Canada’s foreign affairs and development efforts, IDRC invests in knowledge, innovation, and solutions to improve lives and livelihoods in developing regions of the world. Bringing together the right partners around opportunities for impact, IDRC builds leaders for today and tomorrow and helps drive large-scale positive change. www.idrc.ca
About Global Affairs Canada
The mandate of Global Affairs Canada is to manage Canada's diplomatic and consular relations, to encourage the country's international trade, and to lead Canada's international development and humanitarian assistance. www.international.gc.ca
Note to Editors: IDRC experts are available for interviews on this announcement, in English and French.
Jocelyn Sweet, IDRC Media Relations [email protected] 613-696-2117