Mam Nodanile lives in a so-called last-mile community in Nomadolo, South Africa. The grandmother cares for 12 grandchildren in a rondavel, a traditional one-bedroomed circular hut.
The parents of her grandchildren have all either died or left the remote homestead for the city. “I struggle to put together food, to feed them even simple porridge,” she told staff from charity One to One Africa, which is addressing cases of malnutrition among the family.
Since 2000, global cases of stunting and wasting — common measures of childhood malnutrition — have reduced. But jointly-researched data from UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank warns alarming rates among children aged under 5 still persist. Stunting affected an estimated 22.3% of children in this age group in 2022 — about 148 million. Wasting threatened the lives of an estimated 6.8% or 45 million.
But beyond the statistics, the reality is that tackling poor early childhood nutrition is highly complex — solving physical deficiencies alone does not address the extent of the problem…
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