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

Remembering the Post-9/11 Promises to Raise Foreign Aid

The 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is bringing back a rush of memories and emotions.  Everyone it seems is recalling, with respect for the victims, where they were on that day when they heard or watched the horrific news.

| By Roger Thurow

Coping with Drought

With drought devastating farms from the Horn of Africa to the Panhandle of Texas, I journeyed to one of the frontlines of climate change to “chew the news,” as the Maasai say.

| By Roger Thurow

Harvest and Hunger – Part 2

At 6:30 this morning, as the sun was coming up, Sanet Biketi walked out of his small house made of mud and sticks.  Carrying a machete at his side, he headed straight to the edge of his maize field and said a prayer of thanksgiving for the arrival of harvest day.

| By Roger Thurow

Harvest and Hunger

Two scenes from the great African paradox of surplus and shortage – feast and famine – in the same country.

| By Roger Thurow

Empty Promises, Empty Stomachs

The promises made by the leaders of the rich world in L’Aquila, Italy, two years ago were supposed to stop what is now happening in the Horn of Africa. But those pledges haven’t been kept, and starvation is raging once again.

| By Roger Thurow

Rowing in the Same Direction

Vision.  Strategy.  Tactics.

These were the priorities that emerged at my table during a discussion about the role of U.S. universities, government agencies, NGOs, foundations and the African diplomatic community in advancing African development.  

| By Roger Thurow

Political Will

The Nigerian ambassador to the U.S., Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye, tells an acerbic joke to illustrate the importance of good leadership.

| By Roger Thurow

Countering Drought

This growing season in south-central Kenya has been a good test for the new drought tolerant maize varieties being bred in Africa.  This is a semi-arid area, but this year they can drop the semi.  Farmers report only three short periods of rain since the February planting time.

| By Roger Thurow

Cool Beans

For some farmers in western Kenya, the hunger season I wrote about last week is coming to a mercifully early end.  A new variety of bean is ready for harvest.


| By Roger Thurow

Big Brains on Little Brains

Little brains were on the minds of some pretty big brains in the fight against hunger at the Chicago Council’s Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security this week.

| By Roger Thurow

The Importance of Innovation

Bill Gates came to the Chicago Council’s Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security with a confession.  “I’ve never been a farmer,” he said.  “Until recently, I rarely set foot on farm.”

| By Roger Thurow

Public Policy Matters

I enjoyed the great privilege of giving my first commencement speech on Sunday, to the graduating class of the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin.  I had eagerly anticipated the ceremony, knowing that the passion to shape a more just world inspires young policy makers as mightily as it fuels journalists.

| By Roger Thurow

Something to Cut

With many words in this column, we have discussed what not to cut from the federal budget.  Namely, administration requests to fund agriculture development, especially in Africa, under the Feed the Future initiative and the Global Agriculture Food Security Program.

| By Roger Thurow

Yin and Yang of Foreign Aid

Here is the Yin and the Yang of development aid spending: In the U.S., it is on the chopping block, threatened by budget cutters sharpening their knives; in China it is on an expansion course, favored by a government seeking to accumulate influence and riches in the developing world, particularly Africa.

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 »