A competitive 'development marketplace for nutrition' aimed at finding and funding innovative ideas that will change the lives of thousands of pregnant women, infants, and children in South Asia has been launched by the World Bank.
Titled "Family and Community Approaches to Improving Infant and Young Child Nutrition," the Development Marketplace is looking for entrepreneurial organisations across South Asia to submit proposals for local, small-scale projects which have the potential to be scaled up and replicated.
The winners will be selected by an international jury of development and nutrition experts at an event in August, 2009 in Dhaka and will receive funding to implement their proposals, the World Bank said in a statement.
"Malnutrition affects the lives of millions of infants and young children in South Asia," said Isabel Guerrero, World Bank vice president for the South Asia region. "It saps a child's growth potential, delays enrollment in school, limits school achievements, and lowers lifetime earnings," he said.
The World Bank said malnutrition is the single biggest contributor to child mortality in the world. In no place is this problem more serious than in South Asia, where child malnutrition rates are among the highest in the world.
Both child underweight and stunting rates in the region are nearly double those in Africa, the statement said.