1,000 Days focuses on the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday. It’s the most critical time for brain development and a focus on proper nutrition can set a child on a healthy pathway for a lifetime. Throughout the month of March, 1,000 Days has been spreading the word about the importance of good nutrition with their #March4Nutrition.
While malnutrition is a well-known problem, it’s still one of the world’s most significant challenges, with nearly half of all childhood deaths related to malnutrition. When very young children aren’t properly nourished they don’t thrive. It’s not just about insufficient food: an estimated 40 million children under age 5 are overweight, which can lead to long-term health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The month-long movement is highlighting different subjects each week. The first week focused on the overall impact of malnutrition at the individual, community, and global levels. Week two looked at how a woman’s health before and during her pregnancy will affect her own life, and that of her child. Week three concentrated on a child’s life from birth to age 6 months, specifically the consequences of low breastfeeding rates around the world. The fourth week, which we’re in now, offers discussion on the importance of water, sanitation, and hygiene during a child’s life from age 6 months to two years.
Ayak Chan, a 31-year old mother or seven in South Sudan, had no latrine for her household. Her children were often sick as they lived in close quarters with waste and trash. Ayak joined her village’s hygiene committee and taught her husband how to construct a latrine for their family, which he did. To separate contaminated water from the latrine and from the kitchen, Ayak also built a separate bathing shelter. She’s taught her children how to use the new facilities, and shared her knowledge with neighbors who have gone to build their own latrines. Ayak reports that since implementing these hygiene facilities, her children haven’t been sick.
The stories shared throughout the month have been eye-opening and heart-warming. Ayak’s story is the perfect example of how awareness and sharing knowledge can improve lives.
Take Action Challenge
Join the #March4Nutrition on Twitter and Facebook. Share what you’re passionate about, whether it’s clean water, breastfeeding, or hygiene, and be sure to use the hashtag. Let everyone know why YOU #March4Nutrition!
Graphic and image via 1,000 Days