One in four children in South Africa are nutritionally stunted before they reach their fifth birthday, meaning they did not receive the nutrients they needed at the start of life, and so their bodies and brains did not develop as they should.
As a result of stunting, children are more likely to drop out of school and struggle with unemployment as adults.
The risk of stunting begins even before birth. When mother's are pregnant, they need access to nutritious food that will support healthy development of their children. Currently, low-income mothers in South Africa don’t get the support they need to ensure their baby can grow great.
As many as 40% of eligible children do not access the Child Support Grant — a monthly R430 ($29) cash grant for low-income parents — in the first year of life when the grant would have its greatest impact and protect children from nutritional stunting. In addition, South Africa currently does not make provision for any form of financial support for low-income women in pregnancy, a time of increased vulnerability for the majority of South Africa’s women.
By expanding the child support grant to support mothers during pregnancy, South Africa can do a great deal to reduce the risk of stunting by enabling women to access the increased nutritional demands pregnancy places on expectant mothers.
Research has shown that offering vulnerable pregnant women income support has also led to an increase in the long-term health of both mothers and children.
Take action to ensure every child has the opportunity to grow great. Sign the petition calling on the Government of South Africa to act now!