February 19, 2016

Recommended Reading

The First 1,000 Days highlights the multi-dimensional nature of child nutrition—everything from food access, water and sanitation, government policy, violence, to poverty can impact a child’s ability to reach his or her potential. Check out these recent developments that are influencing early child growth and development, and remember to preorder your copy of The First 1,000 Days.
 
Support for Breast-Feeding, in a Multitude of Ways, Jane E. Brody, The New York Times
With access to timely information, professional and workplace support, and hands-on help when needed, many more women would breastfeed their babies, and do so exclusively for the first half year of life as recommended by the WHO. Today, more than three-fourths of women start to breast-feed, although more than half end up weaning their babies sooner than they would have liked, often short of six months. During pregnancy, women trying to decide whether to breast-feed deserve to be informed about its benefits and barriers and be given an opportunity and assistance to find ways around any obstacles.
 
How to Reduce India’s Infant Mortality Rate, Suryatapa BhattacharyaThe Wall Street Journal
Child mortality rates in India could be significantly reduced if community health workers visited new mothers regularly, a new study suggests. The study, published in the Lancet, aimed to find ways to reduce India’s child mortality rate, which lags behind most of its neighbors including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Researchers followed health workers who visited rural homes after a child was born and encouraged women to access post-natal programs to learn about nutrition, vaccination schedules, and breastfeeding. Some of the simple, yet effective, lessons came from teaching new mothers how to wrap newborns to prevent exposure to cold, skin-to-skin care, birth preparedness, and making sure they reached a hospital in time for medical care.
 
How Text Messages and Volunteer Midwives Are Saving Lives in Rwanda, Sophie GoodchildThe Guardian
Rwanda’s 45,000 community health workers, including 15,000 dedicated to improving maternity support, are helping to transform healthcare in rural areas. Elected by village committees, these volunteers have contributed significantly to Rwanda’s progress in reducing the deaths of mothers and young children. Behind this success is RapidSMS, a simple mobile phone and data collection system used by health workers to monitor pregnant women and newborns. Piloted by the health ministry in 2009, the service enables healthcare workers to track child nutrition as well as analyze maternal deaths.
 
Measuring the Cost of Hunger in Africa's Emerging Economies, The Guardian
Africa is home to the world’s fourth largest economy, holds one-third of the world’s mineral reserves and one-tenth of its oil. Economic growth in the last decade has averaged more than 5 percent per year, yet nearly a third of the estimated 868 million people affected by hunger and food insecurity live on the continent. There are more children that are stunted—they are short for their age, an indicator of chronic malnutrition—in Africa than there were 20 years ago, a situation that poses a major risk to future economic development. 

Archive



| By Roger Thurow

African Farmers: Surviving or Thriving?

It is one of Africa’s cruelest ironies that as the planting season begins, as it is now across much of the continent, so does the hunger season. The food stocks from the previous harvest are running low and it will be several months before the next harvest comes in. Whatever food remains in the household is rationed: portions shrink, meals are skipped, malnutrition rises.


| By Roger Thurow

Relief to Resilience

There is little mail service in rural Africa, so the smallholder farmers there wouldn’t have received last week’s annual letter of U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah.  But they certainly would welcome his words.

| By Roger Thurow

Developments at the Development Bank

I’m surprised that “surprise” is a word being used to describe President Obama’s nomination of Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank.  Surprise, perhaps, over the specific name, because Dr. Kim hadn’t figured prominently in the speculation of who would replace current World Bank president Robert Zoellick.

| By Roger Thurow

The Rising Power of Women Farmers

The most common tool in African agriculture is also the most impractical.  Or at least it appears to be.  It is the hoe, which is used for plowing, planting, weeding and harvesting.  It is a simple tool that produces the majority of the continent’s food, and yet it has remained unchanged over the centuries, defying any technological advance.

| By Roger Thurow

Looking Back, Moving Forward

At President Obama’s first international summit, the G8 meeting in L’Aquila, Italy in July 2009, he rallied his fellow rich world leaders to commit to investing $22 billion to conquer global hunger through agricultural development.  He spoke passionately about both the moral obligation and the global security imperative of ending hunger and the despair and hopelessness such deep poverty breeds.

| By Roger Thurow

Mr. Xi Goes to Iowa

Those were interesting photos from the dusty archives that appeared in various newspapers and TV reports this week, pictures of a visitor from China inspecting hogs, vegetable farms and grain processing facilities in Iowa back in 1985.  It became downright fascinating when it turned out that visitor, Xi Jinping, was now returning to the U.S., and to Iowa, as the vice president of China.  Oh, and he is presumed to be China’s next president.

| By Roger Thurow

Global Collaboration

At the foot of Mount Kenya, a patch of maize stalks are defying the odds.  They are standing tall and robust in a trial field where the soil had been intentionally depleted of nitrogen, one of the essential nutrients for maize.

| By Roger Thurow

Learning by Doing

Learning by doing is the philosophy of the Pan-American agricultural school known as Zamorano in Honduras.  Students come to class every day dressed in their uniform of blue jeans and blue shirt.  They come to work, not just to study; more often than not, their classrooms are the fields and the food production plants on campus.  They plant seeds and pull weeds and milk cows and nurture fish and make ice cream and inseminate queen bees.

| By Roger Thurow

Sidetracked

A not so funny thing happened on the way to the G20 meeting in Cannes last week.

| By Roger Thurow

The Right Vote

We’ll keep this short:

“Vote for the Appropriations Committee recommendation for foreign operations and against any cuts that would hurt hungry and poor people.”

| By Roger Thurow

Girls Grow

The teenagers of rural western Kenya I have met during the past year have no shortage of ambition.  Especially the girls.  They want to be doctors and nurses and teachers and lawyers and pilots.


Multimedia

Videos


 


Digital Preview of The First 1,000 Days

In his new book, The First 1,000 Days, Council senior fellow Roger Thurow illuminates the 1,000 Days initiative to end early childhood malnutrition through the compelling stories of new mothers in Uganda, India, Guatemala, and Chicago. Get a first-look at photos and stories from the book in this new web interactive.

» Learn more.
» Order your copy of the book.

Books

The First 1,000 Days

Roger Thurow’s book will tell the story of the vital importance of proper nutrition and health care in the 1,000 days window from the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday.

The 1,000 days period is the crucial period of development, when malnutrition can have severe life-long impacts on the individual, the family and society as a whole. Nutritional deficiencies that occur during this time are often overlooked, resulting in a hidden hunger. It is a problem of great human and economic dimensions, impacting rich and poor countries alike.

Learn more »

The Last Hunger Season

In The Last Hunger Season, the intimate dramas of the farmers' lives unfold amidst growing awareness that to feed the world's growing population, food production must double by 2050. How will the farmers, Africa, and a hungrier world deal with issues of water usage, land ownership, foreign investment, corruption, GMO's, the changing role of women, and the politics of foreign aid?

Learn more »

EnoughEnough

Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman, award-winning writers on Africa, development, and agriculture, see famine as the result of bad policies spanning the political spectrum. In this compelling investigative narrative, they explain through vivid human stories how the agricultural revolutions that transformed Asia and Latin America stopped short in Africa, and how our sometimes well-intentioned strategies—alternating with ignorance and neglect—have conspired to keep the world’s poorest people hungry and unable to feed themselves.

Learn more »