The DO MORE FOUNDATION is supporting the Grow Great initiative at both a strategic as well as local implementation level in Nkomazi and Worcester. The Grow Great initiative is focused on halving the national prevalence of stunting of children under two within a decade. Stunting, defined as height-for-age less than two standard deviations of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) child growth standards median is a condition where young children do not reach their growth potential due to chronic nutritional deprivation and is associated with lifelong cognitive defects, educational and employment challenges, increased risk of chronic diseases in adulthood and cycles of intergenerational poverty.
The prevalence of stunting among South Africa’s children is worryingly high, with prevalence rates estimated at 31% in children under the age of five far higher than would be expected for an upper middle income country and far higher than many of South Africa’s developing country counterparts. The determinants of stunting are not limited to an absolute lack of food alone but perpetuated by both nutrition sensitive and nutrition specific factors such as poor maternal health (pre & post pregnancy), poor breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices, poor hygiene and sanitation, gastrointestinal infections and/or worms, a lack of dietary diversity and the purchasing power of low-income households.
Although the burden of stunting attributable to the various risk factors is not clearly defined for South Africans, South Africa performs poorly on many of the known key drivers, suggesting that through a concerted multi-pronged approach there are some substantial wins to be made in this area with potentially high gains for South Africa’s children – this is where the DO MORE FOUNDATION will be assisting at a local level.