Week in Review: How you can keep Nutrition Month rolling with Kiva

Did you know there's enough food in the world today for everyone to have the nourishment they need for a healthy and productive life? Yet so many people -- in both the developed and developing world  -- remain hungry and even dangerously malnourished.

March was National Nutrition Month, so why are we posting about this now? Well, we want to focus on all the reasons why this issue needs attention all year long:

  • Undernutrition contributes to 2.6 million deaths of children under five each year -- one third of the global total.
  • One out of six children -- roughly 100 million -- in developing countries is underweight.
  • One in four of the world’s children are stunted. In developing countries, the proportion is as high as one in three.
  • 80% of the world’s stunted children live in just 20 countries.
  • 66 million primary school aged children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.
  • WFP calculates that $3.2 billion is needed per year to reach all 66 million hungry school-age children.

This might seem bleak, but there is hope. Microfinance is one effective way we can curb malnutrition throughout the world. When families are economically empowered, often the first thing they will do is make sure that they are providing enough food for their family. In fact, improving nutrition for their families is often listed as a goal on their Kiva profiles.

Take Clara from Guatemala, for example. She is married and a mother to ten (10!) children -- the youngest being 6 years old. She and her husband work extremely hard to provide for such a large family. Her husband works as a driver, and she runs numerous small ventures to make extra income. With her last Kiva loan of $400, Clara was able to buy a calf -- which she will raise and sell for meat when it is mature. With the increase in income she hopes this calf will bring, Clara aims to send all ten of her children to school and provide proper nutrition for her family.

Then there's Sera, a single 27-year-old from Kenya. While she has no children of her own, she takes care of three orphaned relatives aged 18,12, and 6 because there is nobody else to care for them. With her $325 Kiva loan, Sera purchased second-hand children’s clothes, hangers, and a notice board to place advertisements on -- to be sold at a stall on the outskirts of Nairobi. Her goal is to earn enough income to open her own daycare business and use that opportunity to educate women on nutrition and the best way to feed their children.

Kiva partners with many organizations focused on providing opportunity to those children who need it most. Specifically, VisionFund AlbaniaVisionFund AzerCredit, VisionFund Indonesia, VisionFund Mexico, VisionFund Cambodia, and Community Economic Ventures, Inc. (CEVI) are all subsidiaries of child hunger nonprofit World Vision International. Hattha Kaksekar Limited, Fund for Thanh Hoa Poor Women, and Soro Yiriwaso are all partners of American NGO Save the Children in addition to Kiva. And Salone Microfinance Trust and UIMCEC are partners of ChildFund International.

When you lend through one of this organizations, you support a mission that includes getting children the nutrition they need for healthy lives. Here at Kiva, we're thrilled to be partnering with organizations that make this a top priority.

Remember, when you lend your $25, you aren't only helping a borrower, but their entire family. Make a loan today and help us get one step closer to ending child malnutrition once and for all.

Have questions? Send them our way at blog@kiva.org.

About the author

Emily Wakefield

A native of southern California, Emily is a recent graduate from Santa Clara University where she studied Economics and Spanish Studies. The highlight of her college experience was the semester she spent abroad in Granada, Spain. She knew she wanted to pursue a career in economic development after reading Half the Sky. Emily will be joining the Marketing and Communications team as a Blog and Social Media Intern and is especially excited to find new and creative ways to spread Kiva’s work to more people. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to country music, and re-watching Friends episodes for the millionth time.