Aliko Dangote Foundation tasks leaders on malnutrition, hunger in Nigeria

The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) has underscored the pivotal role of religious and traditional institutions in tackling the pressing issues of malnutrition and hunger within Nigeria.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, ADF, Zouera Youssoufou, emphasized the significance of faith-based groups in the national agenda for improving nutrition and human capital development in the country. 

She spoke at an event organized by the National Council on Nutrition and the World Bank-Assisted Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria Project, held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, themed: “Faith Leaders as Catalysts for Enhanced Human Capital Through Nutrition.”

According to a statement yesterday, Mrs. Youssoufou was said to have highlighted that nutrition goes beyond mere sustenance; to nurturing the body, mind, and spirit, and forms the cornerstone of human capital development. 

She said that malnutrition significantly hampers the nation’s progress, adding that children are particularly vulnerable, suffering from stunted growth, cognitive impairments, and increased susceptibility to diseases due to inadequate nutrition. 

According to her, malnutrition extends beyond physical health, as it affects educational achievements, economic productivity, and overall well-being, and calls for urgent and concerted action from all stakeholders. 

The dialogue aimed to facilitate the sharing of insights, best practices, and innovative solutions among faith leaders to drive progress in nutrition and human capital enhancement in Nigeria.

The host, Vice President Kashim Shettima, stressed the indispensable role of faith and traditional leaders in improving nutrition within their communities.  

The dialogue aimed to facilitate the sharing of insights, best practices, and innovative solutions among faith leaders to drive progress in nutrition and human capital enhancement in Nigeria.

He said: “Your influence is indispensable. We believe that, regardless of the quality of ideas we bring to the table, our efforts will fall short without your participation and endorsement.

“We must proclaim to the world that our commitment to producing food of unparalleled richness is not rhetoric,” and restated President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to prioritizing nutrition as part of Nigeria’s food security drive. 

Earlier, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, said malnutrition and related challenges have over the years negatively impacted human capital development, requiring accelerated interventions. 

The Minister described the efforts and interventions of the National Economic Council (chaired by the Vice President) and the engagement with faith-based leaders as testimonies that Nigeria has the institutional mechanism to combat hunger and malnutrition with their associated challenges. 

On his part, Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate, said the engagement with faith-based leaders was not just a dialogue but a clarion call for action to address one of society’s most disturbing challenges. 

Prof. Pate called on religious and traditional leaders in Nigeria to leverage their network and influence in society to support the government in combating hunger and malnutrition, describing faith-based leaders as the backbone of their communities, hence their importance in improving the nutritional outcomes in their various domains. 

The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr. Daniel Okoh, pledged the commitment of their communities and congregations to help combat hunger and malnutrition in the country.

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