The country’s stunting rate has remained stagnant for the past two decades. The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) data showed the 2019 stunting rate among 0 to 23-month-olds at 21.9%, up from 20.9% in 2003.

To address this, the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) developed its nutrition leadership and governance program to focus on the first 1,000 days (F1KD) of a child’s life or from conception until two years of age–the crucial period for a child’s brain and body development. The program aims to develop nutrition governance capabilities of cities, municipalities, and provinces toward integrated systems that implement nutrition-specific and sensitive programs to fast-track improvements in the nutritional outcomes of pregnant women and children.

The pilot program for municipalities resulted in a reduction of 4 percentage points in stunting: 15% in 2019 from 19.2% baseline in 2017–better than the average Philippine reduction of 1 percentage point per year. This success led to the creation of similar programs for cities and provinces—the City Nutrition Governance Program (CNGP) and the Provincial Nutrition Governance Program (PNGP), respectively.

The CNGP, in partnership with Nutrition International, was implemented from 2018 to 2021 in the cities of Tacurong, Tagum, and Puerto Princesa. The PNGP has two ongoing nutrition programs: in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Northern Samar, Samar, and Zamboanga del Norte; and with the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation (KGJF) in Sarangani and Basilan.

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