Aliko Dangote Foundation Galvanizes Faith Leaders to Combat Malnutrition and Hunger Crisis in Nigeria

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L-R: Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Temitope Hassan; Group Managing Director/CEO, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Ravindra Singhvi; Executive Director, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Mariya Aliko Dangote; and Chairman, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Aliko Dangote, at the Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc 18th Annual General Meeting, on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 in Lagos.

The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) has convened a crucial dialogue emphasizing the pivotal role of religious and traditional institutions in addressing the dire challenges of malnutrition and hunger within Nigeria.

At an event organized by the National Council on Nutrition and the World Bank-Assisted Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria Project, Mrs. Zouera Youssoufou, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Aliko Dangote Foundation, underscored the imperative of engaging faith-based groups in the national endeavor to enhance nutrition and human capital development.

During the high-level dialogue held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, themed ‘Faith Leaders as Catalysts for Enhanced Human Capital Through Nutrition,’ Mrs. Youssoufou emphasized that nutrition is more than sustenance; it encompasses nurturing the body, mind, and spirit, forming the bedrock of human capital development.

Painting a stark picture of Nigeria’s malnutrition crisis, Mrs. Youssoufou highlighted the severe consequences, particularly for children, including stunted growth, cognitive impairments, and heightened susceptibility to diseases. She stressed that these repercussions extend beyond physical health to impact educational achievements, economic productivity, and overall well-being, necessitating urgent and collaborative action across all sectors of society.

Mrs. Youssoufou pointed out the unique influence of faith leaders, with their grassroots reach and moral authority, in driving positive change in nutrition. She emphasized their teachings on compassion, justice, and stewardship as catalysts for inspiring individuals to prioritize good nutrition, support vulnerable populations, and advocate for policies promoting food security.

Proposing a collective effort among faith communities, Mrs. Youssoufou advocated for fostering a culture of health and wellness that values nutritious diets, breastfeeding, and access to essential nutrients through educational programs, awareness campaigns, and community engagement.

Furthermore, she stressed the role of faith leaders as advocates for policy changes to address systemic barriers to good nutrition, such as food insecurity and inequitable access to healthcare services, urging greater investment in nutrition-sensitive programs to improve health outcomes nationwide.

The dialogue aimed to facilitate the exchange of insights, best practices, and innovative solutions among faith leaders to drive progress in nutrition and human capital enhancement in Nigeria, calling for unity transcending religious divides to work towards a healthier, more prosperous nation.

Vice President Kashim Shettima, the host of the event, highlighted the indispensable role of faith and traditional leaders in improving nutrition within their communities, emphasizing their influence as crucial to Nigeria’s future readiness in ensuring the nourishing quality of its food supply.

The event also witnessed commitments from Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, and Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Pate, who emphasized the urgent need for accelerated interventions and the engagement of religious and traditional leaders in combating hunger and malnutrition.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr. Daniel Okoh, pledged the commitment of their communities to the efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition, affirming their dedication to the campaign for a healthier Nigeria.

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