Why Assistance Can’t Wait
I have been sharing links to a wonderful series by Bread For the World: Development Works! This week I am repeating the fifth essay: Why Assistance Can’t Wait. Please click on the link above and read the whole essay. Here are the highlights as I see them:
Development Works explains why U.S. development assistance is important. This essay offers two examples—each affecting hundreds of millions of people—of why development assistance cannot wait until we have more money or enthusiasm for it.
Foreign assistance focuses on prevention. This is critical in the case of early childhood nutrition and, of course, when there is a possibility of famine.
Malnutrition is most dangerous during the 1,000-day window between pregnancy and age 2, when it can cause death or irreversible physical and cognitive damage. Early childhood malnutrition can also drain a country’s development potential. Yet early malnutrition can be prevented at a modest cost with basic nutrition care.
Famine early warning systems are now sophisticated, forecasting accurately up to a year in advance. Foreign assistance cannot prevent natural disasters, but it can help save many lives.
The potential human consequences of inaction—particularly for children under 2—should be weighed carefully in decisions about emergency relief.
U.S. development assistance should focus on resilience—equipping people to develop strategies to cope with threats to their food security.
I was inspired by these quotes:
Children who are malnourished during the window don’t really get a second chance. They have a much higher risk of infections, illnesses, and death. One-third of all deaths among young children are caused by malnutrition.
Those who survive will not be able to catch up by eating healthy meals and taking extra vitamins in kindergarten.
Damage from malnutrition during the 1,000 Days lasts a lifetime.
The percentage of children with stunted growth is an accurate indication of the severity of a nation’s malnutrition burden. Being very short for one’s age is the most obvious sign of chronic malnutrition, but stunting has far deeper implications. For their entire lives, stunted children will be more susceptible to both infectious and noninfectious diseases.
Their cognitive development has also been stunted; they will finish fewer grades in school and earn less income. This is obviously a tragedy for the children and their families.
Development assistance can’t wait for a more convenient time because it is about human beings and our basic needs—needs that cannot be changed. U.S. development assistance can help people become well-nourished and resilient, but only if we don’t put off making it available.
- TidBits to Follow Effective Development Post (tbolto.wordpress.com)
- Effective Development Assistance Works (tbolto.wordpress.com)
- Americans Reaching Out (tbolto.wordpress.com)