Ethiopia Ramps up Nutrition Efforts

July 23, 2013
Credit: Molly Schmalzbach(left to right) Roman Tesfaye, wife of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Deselegn Boshe; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Demeke Mekonnen; and Minister of Health Dr. Kestetebirhan Admasu display newly released National Nutrition Program

On June 24, 2013, the Government of Ethiopia (GOE) launched a new, multi-sector National Nutrition Program. The program expands and strengthens an earlier program drafted in 2008 by clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of Ethiopia’s health, agriculture, water, education, and commercial sectors to address chronic undernutrition, which affects 44 percent of the population.

The new program also emphasizes the 1,000 days from pregnancy to age two and is aligned with the Millennium Development Goals and the GOE’s development programming in other sectors. This is the GOE’s first cross-sectoral program for nutrition that involves nine Ministries; the National Nutrition Coordination Body will be chaired by the Minister of Health and co-chaired by the ministers of agriculture and education.

The new program is supported by Feed the Future via the U.S. Agency for International Development’s flagship nutrition project in Ethiopia, which provided key technical assistance, consultation and financing to the GOE leading up to the launch. In particular, U.S. Government contributions to the program design helped ensure a strong focus on governance, accountability and costing for all activities.

At the launch, U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald E. Booth congratulated the GOE on a sophisticated plan that “bridges the divide between agriculture, health, education, water and other stakeholders.” In addition to being a Feed the Future focus country, Ethiopia is one of six African nations to join the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.