IFAD Workshop on Development Aid to be Held in Fiuggi

Press release number: IFAD 25/01

''Revisiting the Effectiveness of Development Aid: Emerging Solutions Community Ownership of Interventions to Reduce Chronic Malnutrition'' will be the main topic of a workshop organised by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) - 19-20 September - at the Hotel Silva Splendid in Fiuggi.

Malnutrition is a persistent characteristic of poverty in developing countries. Over the last twenty years, progress in reducing prevalence of malnutrition has been slow. The WHO estimates that not less than 215 million children suffer from ''stunting'' (i.e. their linear physical growth is not commensurate to age). They represent not less than one third (33%) of all the children in developing countries. Chronic compared to seasonal malnutrition is debilitating. Stunted children face higher risk of mortality and retarded mental and motoric development.

The reasons for this are several and reflect limited entitlements and limited knowledge.
Chronic malnutrition reflect the combined influence of deprivation. Stunted children receive little food. Moreover, hygiene and sanitation are not adequate. Mothers have little knowledge, are not informed, are overworked and have little time for care.

Much has been written about non effective development aid. One of several reasons for ineffective aid is that funds for development aid are not well targeted. Programs that aim at improving food security in developing countries need to be based upon relevant and valid indicators to target, monitor and evaluate interventions.

The Fiuggi workshop has two main goals. First, to bring about awareness on the usefulness of anthropometric indicators as a low cost tool for targeting and recording impact, available to donors and development practitioners. Secondly, to highlight community-based organisations (such as, mothers' groups) as a ''medium'' to channel future interventions to improve nutrition security in developing countries. Local communities need not only to be involved, but also to be strengthened so that they can set their own targets and monitor results.

The audience, 75-80 people, represent Donor Governments, International Organisations (including IFAD, FAO and WFP), Program Managers in Developing Countries, Academic Researchers and Field Practitioners. The workshop aims at driving change in strategies for intervention. Participants will be invited to launch a medium-term pilot programme to reduce malnutrition. This programme would be based on enhanced capabilities of community-based organisation and the use of anthropometric indicators.

IFAD is a specialised agency of the United Nations with the specific mandate of combating hunger and poverty in the most disadvantaged regions of the world. Since 1978 IFAD has financed 584 projects in 114 recipient countries and in the West Bank and Gaza for a total commitment of approximately USD 7.2 billion in loans and grants. Through these projects, about 250 million rural people have had a chance to move out of poverty. IFAD makes the greater part of its resources available to low-income countries on very favourable terms, with up to 40 years for repayment and including a grace period of up to ten years and a service charge of 0.75% per year.