The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Pakistan, in collaboration with The Dawood Foundation (TDF), has launched a fresh effort to change the way people approach nutrition in the impoverished district of Tharparkar, in Sindh province.
Tharparkar has suffered from severe drought for more than four years – often with fatal consequences. Malnutrition and acute food shortages compound the lack of adequate medical facilities, transportation and road infrastructure.
The new campaign – consisting of messages distributed in Sindhi through radio programmes, banners and awareness workshops – aims to encourage individuals and communities to ensure that malnourished children, pregnant women and nursing mothers have access to diversified, nutritious diets. It also emphasizes the importance of breastfeeding, supplementary feeding, hygiene practices and the need to monitor children’s growth.
Speaking at the launch, Irfan Malik, Head of Programme- WFP’s provincial office in Sindh said malnutrition was not just a health issue. “It needs to be addressed across sectors, and prioritized in all development programmes from the community to the national level. This strategic collaboration with The Dawood Foundation demonstrates the private sector’s positive role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Pakistan”.
For her part, TDF’s Chief Executive Officer, Sabrina Dawood, conveyed of the Foundation’s pivotal role in bringing about positive social change. “The campaign to educate the people of Tharparkar about hygienic and dietary practices, she said “will contribute to achieve the Government’s nutrition priority goals set for Vision 2025.” In his closing remarks, TDF’s Manager Services, Amir Shabbir said that “nutrition targets can be achieved if all stakeholders work together to address issues pertaining to malnutrition in Sindh”.
WFP has taken the lead in providing technical and policy support to Sindh’s Planning and Development Department and Nutrition Support Programme. It has also played a key role in the establishment of Sindh’s Provincial Fortification Alliances (PFA) – a platform for the implementation of all national nutrition policy and programmes. And recently, in close coordination with the Government of Sindh, WFP has opened a Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) secretariat in Karachi to help combat malnutrition at the local level – a further step towards delivering the nutrition goals contained in Vision 2025.