More children will grow UP thanks to National Postcode Lottery

Max Foundation is thrilled to have received 500.000 from the Dutch National Postcode Lottery, the second largest private funder in the world. This will enable us to run the project Growing Up Up Up, aimed at preventing growth problems in children in Bangladesh. We will be able to reach 16.000 children in 36 villages. The donation was announced at the Lottery's "Goed Geld Gala" (26th january 2016), also attended by special guest and philanthropist George Clooney.

(photograph: Roy Beusker)

Around 162 million children under five have some form of growth impediment, also known as stunting. Every year, around a million children die from the consequences of this, making it a serious global issue. “We see the positive results we have already had up to now in Bangladesh” Joke Le Poole tells us, director of Max Foundation. “The fact that the Postcode Lottery selected us as one of their beneficiaries feels like a wonderful recognition for this. The money will also act as a lever to achieve our ambitions for the coming five to ten years.”

Too small for your age. Is it a problem?
Children that suffer from stunted growth usually stay vulnerable for the rest of their lives, physically and mentally. It influences their production capacity later in life, and with that their economic opportunities. Especially in poorer areas therefore, stunting is not only problematic for the individual child, but also for the family and community as a whole.

We understand the causes better now
New research has shown that (under)nutrition is only part of the problem. There is apparently a strong link with hygiene and sanitation. For example, when young children start to crawl, especially in poorer areas, they will do this outside in the courtyard. They will eat from the ground and ingest animal faeces as well. This causes repeated infections in the gut, leading to a diminished capacity to absorb nutrients. The result is often stunted growth.

In Growing Up Up Up! our focus is on behavioural change

A combined approach, as Max Foundation always uses, is key to solving the issue. That means we will not only provide clean water and latrines, but also give education and encourage awareness on child care, including nutrition, deworming and hygiene. “But we cannot force people”, as Riad Imam Mahmud, Country Director Max Foundation in Bangladesh explains, “the way we work is to trigger communities to think along with us, and to take responsibility for their children’s health. Villages that have eradicated stunting, get a local recognition of being a “stunting free village”, something that people can feel proud of.

Apart from helping children in South Asia, the purpose of Growing Up Up Up is also for it to function as a model for the rest of the world, as a successful method against growth problems in young children.


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