London — The Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), one of the world's largest philanthropic organisations, announced today an investment of $787 million that will transform the lives of hundreds of millions of children.
The investment marks a historic shift in international development priorities driven by CIFF, the British Government and the Government of Brazil over the last twelve months, which led to donors securing up to $4.15 billion in new commitments to tackle under-nutrition up to 2020, at the Nutrition for Growth high level meeting in London today.
At the meeting, governments, private sector organisations and civil society organisations also endorsed the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact, which commits parties to scale up their political commitment, increase resources and take urgent action on childhood and maternal under-nutrition, an area that has been historically neglected by the international community.
CIFF's $787 million investment is the largest single investment in the eradication of under-nutrition by a private foundation in history. Nutrition is one of CIFF's key priority areas, identified as delivering the greatest large-scale, cost-effective benefit for the world's children. Investments in nutrition also provide benefits in two other priority areas, Child Survival and Educational Attainment.
Jamie Cooper-Hohn, co-founder and CEO, Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) said: "Today we have seen a historic shift with nutrition taking its place at the heart of the health, education and economic development agendas. The investments announced today will transform the lives of millions of children as well as the economic growth and prosperity of nations."
In 2011 nutrition represented just 0.4% of total overseas development assistance, or $418m, despite evidence showing that in low and middle-incomes countries, a quarter of under-5s are stunted, and 165 million stunted children globally or 8%. 19 million children are severely wasted, while at least 3.1 million children die a year before the age of five as a result of under-nutrition. Generation after generation, malnourished children have developed into adults with their physical and intellectual capabilities diminished, inhibiting global growth by as much as 11% of GNP in some countries.
Investment in the scale-up of simple, cost-effective nutrition-specific community interventions including exclusive breast-feeding, nutritional supplements and hand-washing is proven to address nutrient deficiency in the crucial 1,000 days between conception and the first two years of a child's life, allowing brains and bodies to achieve their natural potential.
At the country level, the Government of Brazil has reduced stunting among under-5s from 37% to 7% in a decade. Eliminating under-nutrition globally would cost $10 billion per year, and deliver an increase in GNP in Africa and Asia of up to 11%, and 2-11% in Central America, with average returns of $15 for every dollar spent, comparable to road-building or large-scale irrigation projects.
CIFF's 7-year commitment focuses on high-impact investments that will be delivered with clear objectives, using reliable evidence and implemented via trial, monitoring and course correction.
About Children's Investment Fund Foundation
The Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) aims to demonstrably improve the lives of children in developing countries by achieving large-scale, sustainable impact. We believe that every child deserves to survive, thrive and mature into adulthood in a supportive and safe environment.
Headquartered in London. CIFF is an independent, philanthropic organisation with an endowment of over $3.9bn in June 2013. Our staff and Trustees combine the best of business and the best of development, bringing a wealth of experience from both sectors to CIFF's work.