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Month: February 2018

#Marchis4Nutrition: What if Moms had access to the support needed to reach their breastfeeding goals?

In honor of National Nutrition Month, 1,000 Days is kicking off its annual #Marchis4Nutrition campaign to amplify the critical role the world’s mothers play in nourishing the next generation. During the next 4 weeks, we will be imagining a world in which moms have the support they need to give their children a healthy start to life. This week we’re asking:

What if moms had access to the support needed to reach their breastfeeding goals?

A world in which women receive support to breastfeed is a world in which women and children thrive. Enabling women to breastfeed for as long as they desire would result in less illness and disease, as breastfeeding plays a key protective role for infant health.  Fewer children would die from diarrhea and pneumonia – two of the leading causes of child mortality globally – as well as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)—a leading cause of infant mortality in the U.S. If babies were breastfed early and exclusively for the first 6 months, evidence shows that over 820,000 lives could be saved each year.

And it is not just babies who would benefit from breastfeeding. For every year a mother breastfeeds, she significantly reduces her risk of developing ovarian cancer, invasive breast cancer and heart disease.

“If moms had access to the support needed to reach their breastfeeding goals, they could reduce their risk for certain cancers while providing the optimal nutrition for their children.”
– Helen Keller International’s ARCH Project

So what will it take for moms to have the support they need? From the outset, women need access to quality healthcare, including skilled breastfeeding counseling. Women need access to job-protected paid time off from work to care for their newborns and to establish breastfeeding. And women need better policies and programs that enable them to start and continue breastfeeding as long as they choose, including breastfeeding education efforts and restrictions on the unethical promotion of infant and toddler formula.

For women and children living in conflict or emergency settings, even more support is needed. Ample privacy and space, psychological counseling and assistance with attachment and positioning are critical. For some mothers, breastfeeding can even help reduce stress. But it means strengthening systems of support to do so.

“Breastfeeding is the natural diet containing all the nutrients a child needs.”
– Nutrition International’s National Program Manager, Dr. Ahsanullah Khan Bhurgri

ALL moms need support to reach their breastfeeding goals. Join the #Marchis4Nutrition conversation on Facebook and Twitter this month and tell us what you think: What does the world look like if moms have the support they needed to reach their breastfeeding goals…?

To learn more about the worldwide support needed for breastfeeding, check out the Global Breastfeeding Collective, a partnership of 20 prominent international agencies and non-governmental organizations, including 1,000 Days and led by UNICEF and WHO.

#Marchis4Nutrition: What if Moms had access to the support needed to reach their breastfeeding goals?

In honor of National Nutrition Month, 1,000 Days is kicking off its annual #Marchis4Nutrition campaign to amplify the critical role the world’s mothers play in nourishing the next generation. During the next 4 weeks, we will be imagining a world in which moms have the support they need to give their children a healthy start to life. This week we’re asking:

What if moms had access to the support needed to reach their breastfeeding goals?

A world in which women receive support to breastfeed is a world in which women and children thrive. Enabling women to breastfeed for as long as they desire would result in less illness and disease, as breastfeeding plays a key protective role for infant health.  Fewer children would die from diarrhea and pneumonia – two of the leading causes of child mortality globally – as well as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)—a leading cause of infant mortality in the U.S. If babies were breastfed early and exclusively for the first 6 months, evidence shows that over 820,000 lives could be saved each year.

And it is not just babies who would benefit from breastfeeding. For every year a mother breastfeeds, she significantly reduces her risk of developing ovarian cancer, invasive breast cancer and heart disease.

“If moms had access to the support needed to reach their breastfeeding goals, they could reduce their risk for certain cancers while providing the optimal nutrition for their children.”
– Helen Keller International’s ARCH Project

So what will it take for moms to have the support they need? From the outset, women need access to quality healthcare, including skilled breastfeeding counseling. Women need access to job-protected paid time off from work to care for their newborns and to establish breastfeeding. And women need better policies and programs that enable them to start and continue breastfeeding as long as they choose, including breastfeeding education efforts and restrictions on the unethical promotion of infant and toddler formula.

For women and children living in conflict or emergency settings, even more support is needed. Ample privacy and space, psychological counseling and assistance with attachment and positioning are critical. For some mothers, breastfeeding can even help reduce stress. But it means strengthening systems of support to do so.

“Breastfeeding is the natural diet containing all the nutrients a child needs.”
– Nutrition International’s National Program Manager, Dr. Ahsanullah Khan Bhurgri

ALL moms need support to reach their breastfeeding goals. Join the #Marchis4Nutrition conversation on Facebook and Twitter this month and tell us what you think: What does the world look like if moms have the support they needed to reach their breastfeeding goals…?

To learn more about the worldwide support needed for breastfeeding, check out the Global Breastfeeding Collective, a partnership of 20 prominent international agencies and non-governmental organizations, including 1,000 Days and led by UNICEF and WHO.

Moms and Babies Left Out Of Trump Administration’s Budget Proposal

1,000 Days leads the fight to give mothers and babies in the U.S. and around the world the nutrition they need to thrive. We know that the 1,000 days between pregnancy and age two set the stage for all the days that follow, representing an unparalleled opportunity to positively affect the trajectory of future generations.

That is why we are incredibly disappointed in the Trump Administration’s refusal to prioritize the health and well-being of mothers and babies in its recently released budget proposal. The Administration calls for devastating cuts to global and domestic programs that will jeopardize critical supports for families here and around the world. From drastic changes to SNAP—a program that helps 1 in 4 children in America get enough to eat every day—that limit consumer choice, to a 30% cut to America’s foreign assistance and diplomacy programs, this budget is dangerous and shortsighted.

The Trump Administration missed its chance to demonstrate real commitment to women and children; instead it doubled-down on the funding cuts it proposed last year. The American people deserve a budget that reflects our values as a nation – one that ensures access to comprehensive, quality healthcare, nutrition assistance and parental supports while also providing lifesaving foreign aid to vulnerable families throughout the world.

1,000 Days calls on Congress to continue their longstanding, bipartisan support for nutrition, health and foreign assistance programs by rejecting these proposed cuts. We stand ready to work with Congressional allies to preserve and strengthen these programs and achieve our vision of a brighter, healthier future for all children

ICAN Strategy Meetings Pave the Road Ahead

The International Coalition for Advocacy on Nutrition (ICAN) met last week in London to develop an advocacy strategy for the year ahead.

The coalition is comprised of organizations working to improve policies and scale-up investments in nutrition globally. ICAN grew out of collaborative efforts in the lead-up to Nutrition for Growth 2013 in London and since then, the coalition has grown significantly, now representing over 40 organizations from 15 different countries.

Given the significant funding gap globally for nutrition, ICAN has focused on mobilizing new resources for nutrition. The World Bank estimates that an additional $7 billion is needed each year to close the funding gap for 4 of the 6 World Health Assembly targets. Importantly, this amount is even higher when considering that an enabling an environment for good nutrition is also needed, including WASH, gender empowerment and production of healthy foods. Although it will take more than just money, additional funding remains critical to ending hunger and malnutrition.

In addition to new resources, ICAN also advocates for better use of existing resources for global nutrition. By ensuring that donors and governments use funding wisely, ICAN members help ensure that programming efficiently reaches the communities that need it most.

Government Donors

A top priority of ICAN has been, and remains, engaging the world’s biggest donors, primarily the G7 countries, to mobilize new and better resources for nutrition. By advocating during government budget cycles and pressuring world leaders to pledge at key global moments, ICAN members have kept the focus on investing in nutrition.

As recognized during last week’s strategy discussion, this work takes place in a difficult context. In recent years, there has been a decline in foreign assistance or overseas development assistance (ODA). Donors are spending less than 1% of ODA on high-impact nutrition interventions that build the foundation for a healthy, prosperous life.

In a difficult political and fiscal environment, the focus of many governments are immediate crises and domestic issues, often at the expense of foreign assistance. However, foreign assistance is equally an important tool for economic growth and global stability. During strategy discussions, it was clear that ICAN members are as dedicated as ever to advocating to donors to improve foreign assistance for nutrition, even in challenging times.

Holding donors accountable for the commitments that they have made to improve the lives of women and children through better nutrition is a key piece of ICAN’s strategy in 2018. G7 countries committed in 2015 to lift 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition, and yet little has been done to advance that promise. In fact, hunger and malnutrition is on the rise globally, signaling that much more advocacy and pressure is still needed.

The World Bank

The World Bank has shown significant leadership for nutrition over the past few years with President Jim Yong Kim championing the issue, calling on countries to invest more in human capital, including investments in nutrition.

Good nutrition is critical to cognitive development and in turn, can have a significant impact on an individual’s earning potential and in turn, a nation’s economic growth. Between 2018 – 2020, the Bank has identified at least $1.7 billion for nutrition through International Development Association (IDA) loans and grants.

ICAN has worked closely with the Bank to maximize and increase these resources. The World Bank Annual and Spring meetings, for example, have provided an opportunity for civil society to highlight nutrition as a human capital investment and call on Finance Ministers to invest in national nutrition plans.

This will continue to be an important advocacy venue and ICAN members strategized on ways to improve its advocacy to ensure that the Bank is a driving force for improved nutrition for years to come. Relatedly, ICAN is exploring how innovative financing mechanisms like the Global Financing Facility (GFF) and the Power of Nutrition, can be used to leverage more and existing funding for nutrition.

Innovation & Creativity

At the ICAN meeting, the coalition was challenged by a provocative presentation from Danny Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of CIVICUS and Member of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Lead Group. He reiterated that advocates need to think and operate differently to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

ICAN is continuously striving to improve its way of working together and rise to the challenge of the SDGs. At this year’s coalition meeting, the coalition was joined by five members of SUN civil society alliances – advocates from Guatemala, Myanmar, Kenya, Senegal and the Philippines – that are building political will in their countries to improve nutrition.

ICAN partner organizations have a role to play in supporting country advocates and ensuring that country success stories and challenges are being brought to global attention. Coordinating this effort is not always easy but it is extremely necessary to promote country-led efforts to increase funding and improve policies for nutrition.

The Road Ahead

ICAN is reinvigorated to collaborate on these efforts and more in 2018, with an eye keenly focused on the horizon and the potential for a global pledging summit in 2020. In December, Japan announced its commitment to host a nutrition summit alongside the Tokyo Olympics.

While this is still two years away, the foundation is being laid now to work with the Japanese government, build momentum amongst world leaders and unite around a common vision. Together, with the collective voices of over 40 organizations, ICAN is a powerful voice in the nutrition space with an ambitious agenda ahead.

ICAN Strategy Meetings Pave the Road Ahead

The International Coalition for Advocacy on Nutrition (ICAN) met last week in London to develop an advocacy strategy for the year ahead.

The coalition is comprised of organizations working to improve policies and scale-up investments in nutrition globally. ICAN grew out of collaborative efforts in the lead-up to Nutrition for Growth 2013 in London and since then, the coalition has grown significantly, now representing over 40 organizations from 15 different countries.

Given the significant funding gap globally for nutrition, ICAN has focused on mobilizing new resources for nutrition. The World Bank estimates that an additional $7 billion is needed each year to close the funding gap for 4 of the 6 World Health Assembly targets. Importantly, this amount is even higher when considering that an enabling an environment for good nutrition is also needed, including WASH, gender empowerment and production of healthy foods. Although it will take more than just money, additional funding remains critical to ending hunger and malnutrition.

In addition to new resources, ICAN also advocates for better use of existing resources for global nutrition. By ensuring that donors and governments use funding wisely, ICAN members help ensure that programming efficiently reaches the communities that need it most.

Government Donors

A top priority of ICAN has been, and remains, engaging the world’s biggest donors, primarily the G7 countries, to mobilize new and better resources for nutrition. By advocating during government budget cycles and pressuring world leaders to pledge at key global moments, ICAN members have kept the focus on investing in nutrition.

As recognized during last week’s strategy discussion, this work takes place in a difficult context. In recent years, there has been a decline in foreign assistance or overseas development assistance (ODA). Donors are spending less than 1% of ODA on high-impact nutrition interventions that build the foundation for a healthy, prosperous life.

In a difficult political and fiscal environment, the focus of many governments are immediate crises and domestic issues, often at the expense of foreign assistance. However, foreign assistance is equally an important tool for economic growth and global stability. During strategy discussions, it was clear that ICAN members are as dedicated as ever to advocating to donors to improve foreign assistance for nutrition, even in challenging times.

Holding donors accountable for the commitments that they have made to improve the lives of women and children through better nutrition is a key piece of ICAN’s strategy in 2018. G7 countries committed in 2015 to lift 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition, and yet little has been done to advance that promise. In fact, hunger and malnutrition is on the rise globally, signaling that much more advocacy and pressure is still needed.

The World Bank

The World Bank has shown significant leadership for nutrition over the past few years with President Jim Yong Kim championing the issue, calling on countries to invest more in human capital, including investments in nutrition.

Good nutrition is critical to cognitive development and in turn, can have a significant impact on an individual’s earning potential and in turn, a nation’s economic growth. Between 2018 – 2020, the Bank has identified at least $1.7 billion for nutrition through International Development Association (IDA) loans and grants.

ICAN has worked closely with the Bank to maximize and increase these resources. The World Bank Annual and Spring meetings, for example, have provided an opportunity for civil society to highlight nutrition as a human capital investment and call on Finance Ministers to invest in national nutrition plans.

This will continue to be an important advocacy venue and ICAN members strategized on ways to improve its advocacy to ensure that the Bank is a driving force for improved nutrition for years to come. Relatedly, ICAN is exploring how innovative financing mechanisms like the Global Financing Facility (GFF) and the Power of Nutrition, can be used to leverage more and existing funding for nutrition.

Innovation & Creativity

At the ICAN meeting, the coalition was challenged by a provocative presentation from Danny Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of CIVICUS and Member of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Lead Group. He reiterated that advocates need to think and operate differently to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

ICAN is continuously striving to improve its way of working together and rise to the challenge of the SDGs. At this year’s coalition meeting, the coalition was joined by five members of SUN civil society alliances – advocates from Guatemala, Myanmar, Kenya, Senegal and the Philippines – that are building political will in their countries to improve nutrition.

ICAN partner organizations have a role to play in supporting country advocates and ensuring that country success stories and challenges are being brought to global attention. Coordinating this effort is not always easy but it is extremely necessary to promote country-led efforts to increase funding and improve policies for nutrition.

The Road Ahead

ICAN is reinvigorated to collaborate on these efforts and more in 2018, with an eye keenly focused on the horizon and the potential for a global pledging summit in 2020. In December, Japan announced its commitment to host a nutrition summit alongside the Tokyo Olympics.

While this is still two years away, the foundation is being laid now to work with the Japanese government, build momentum amongst world leaders and unite around a common vision. Together, with the collective voices of over 40 organizations, ICAN is a powerful voice in the nutrition space with an ambitious agenda ahead.

Bipartisan Budget Deal Announced with Funding for Critical Programs for Moms and Babies

Yesterday, Senate Leaders announced a bipartisan budget deal to lift arbitrary funding caps for two years, allowing for much-needed increases in federal spending. The deal also maintains funding for domestic and foreign aid programs through March 23, 2018, giving Congress time to agree upon specific funding levels for the remainder of fiscal year 2018. 1,000 Days is encouraged by this important development.

We strongly support the additional funding announced for domestic and foreign aid programs vital to the health and well-being of moms and babies. We look forward to working with Congress to maintain support for effective, life-saving health and nutrition programs both at home and around the world.

We are particularly pleased that the bipartisan budget deal includes a two-year extension of funding for community health centers, the national health service corps and other health-related programs, helping to ensure millions of Americans will be able to continue to access the health services they need. The bipartisan Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program will receive an additional five years of funding and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will receive additional funding—providing vulnerable children with the health care security they need. Last, much-needed federal relief will be available to families and communities affected by the recent natural disasters in Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and California as they continue to recover.

However, we are disappointed this deal includes a $1.35 billion cut to the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) over the next decade. Reducing the PPHF undermines the critical work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect our public health both at home and abroad, including jeopardizing initiatives that support breastfeeding and reduce health disparities.

Still, bipartisan support of this deal shows that Congress works best when Republicans and Democrats come together to put the needs of families first. Moms and babies here and around the world deserve no less.

It’s Time for Change – It’s Time for Paid Family Leave

25 years ago the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law. FMLA is the first and only national law that guarantees (some) workers in the U.S. unpaid time away from work to care for themselves and their loved ones, and has been an important step forward to help America’s workers meet the dual demands of work and family.

But now, 25 years later, it’s clear that America’s families need and deserve better.

  • Unpaid leave is not enough. Right now, millions of working parents who are eligible to take time off from work under the FMLA simply cannot afford to because it is UNPAID.
  • All workers need paid leave. Nearly 40% of America’s workers are not eligible to take time off under the FMLA – this means millions of moms and dads across the country have no job protection to take time off when their child is born.

Currently, only a small minority of workers in the U.S. have access to paid leave through their employers. All too often parents are forced to choose between taking time off from work to care for their young children and earning the income they need to support their families.

Yet, a week ago in his State of the Union, President Trump said: “And let us support working families by supporting paid family leave.”

We couldn’t agree more. But we must not settle for just any paid leave plan. 1,000 Days has outlined its principles for paid leave, including:

  • It is available to all workers, regardless of the size of their employer or the sector they work in;
  • It is comprehensive, available for the full range of personal medical and family caregiving needs;
  • It provides sufficient time off, at minimum 12 weeks; and
  • It ensures economic security by maintaining employees’ wages and benefits.

As a country we are failing to meet the needs of our families. It’s time for a change.

This year 1,000 Days will urge Congress and the Trump Administration to invest in the health and economic security of families by passing a comprehensive national paid leave policy that helps all working parents give their children the strongest start to life.

Doubling Down For America’s Moms And Babies

Over the last year, we have witnessed unprecedented threats to the very programs and policies that are critical to the health and well-being of women and children across America – and as we jump into 2018, the threats are not abating. Medicaid which insures 25 million women and covers the cost of nearly half of all births in the U.S. – is being undermined by policy proposals at the state and federal levels that could dramatically increase the number of uninsured. And many in Congress seem committed to cut federal nutrition programs, such as SNAP, which provide essential food and nutrition supports to our county’s youngest children and their families.

Here at 1,000 Days we believe that now is not the time to pull back, but rather to double down and push ourselves to do more to support the health and well-being of young children and their families. To that end, in the year ahead, we plan to focus on the following areas:

  • Food Policy – ensuring that mothers and children have the nutrition they need to thrive; this means standing strong against the threats to SNAP and WIC—programs that are critical lifelines to so many of our country’s babies and toddlers—and focusing on the next set of Dietary Guidelines for Americans which should include for the first time evidence-based and unbiased guidelines for pregnant women and children under two.
  • Health Policy – ensuring young children and their families have guaranteed access to affordable health insurance that offers comprehensive benefits for maternal, infant and young child health services, with a specific focus on Medicaid/CHIP and essential health benefits.
  • Family Supports Policy – ensuring parents have the support they need to give their children the strongest start to life, in particular through paid family leave among other workplace and community supports.

Across all of our work, 1,000 Days will be focused not only on protecting and strengthening critical policies and programs that support the well-being of moms, babies and toddlers, but also on “visioning better—creating conversations and generating ideas for how we can create a vision for a society that truly values and invests in babies, toddlers and their mothers.

We look forward to working closely with policymakers and partners, as well as parents to ensure all children have the strongest start to life and the opportunity to reach their full potential.