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Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia Nutrition International launched its ‘Right Start Initiative’ in Ethiopia on May 17, as part of a field visit to Amhara Regional State by David De Ferranti, Chair of its Board of Directors, Joel Spicer, President and CEO, Richard Pendame, Regional Director, Africa and Amare Deribew, Country Director, Ethiopia.

The day-long visit to some of Nutrition International programs included a health post, where frontline health workers deliver training on nutritious and safe food preparation for infants and young children, a health centre where a Pregnant Women’s Conference – a forum for women, and their husbands, to discuss everything from family planning to nutrition – was being held, and a school, where adolescent girls are receiving weekly iron and folic acid supplements as part of Right Start.

“I spoke with a group of adolescent girls about the challenges they face in their daily lives and the difference that nutrition can make. It always inspires me that they are willing to share some of their struggles, but also their dreams for what they want to become,” said Joel Spicer about the launch event. “I am grateful to witness their enthusiasm and hope and it reminds me why I took this job in the first place – to fight for people like them so they have a better chance of becoming what they were meant to be and to be able to contribute fully to building a better country.”

Supported by the Government of Canada through a $12M (CAD) investment over five years to 2020, Right Start Ethiopia will reach 430,000 pregnant women with WHO-recommended iron and folic acid supplementation, 1.1M newborns with a package of interventions at birth, 830,000 adolescent girls with weekly iron and folic supplementation and nutrition education, and 880,000 children under two years old with nutrition services. 4.7M women of reproductive age and adolescent girls will also be reached through the fortification of commercial wheat flour with iron and folic acid at a national level.

“I first came to Ethiopia 31 years ago and am amazed by the change and growth the country has undergone,” added David de Ferranti. “The youth of this country are its future, and Nutrition International interventions are making a real difference in the lives of women, girls and children in areas where the burden of malnutrition is highest.”

This celebration of Right Start was the last of nine country launches that took place over the past two years in India, Senegal, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The Right Start Initiative was launched globally at the last Women Deliver Global Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in May 2016.

Find out more about Right Start