A chance at a healthy start in life!

Good nutrition during the first 1,000 days plays a foundational role in a child's survival, growth and development, yet in West and Central Africa, 1 child out of 3 is malnourished.

Malnourishing is one of the most unfair burdens to the region's communities. It perpetuates poverty and inequality, having a life-long effect on individuals and societies.

It's time to break the cycle.


UNICEF is launching the First Foods initiative, an innovative approach to bring about sustainable solutions to malnutrition in West and Central Africa.

Children's nutrition depends partially on what communities can find and buy on local markets, and with your help, UNICEF and its partners will transform food systems in the region, to improve child diet and reduce malnutrition.

How will your support make a difference?

A close-up of a mother feeding her child with a spoon

6 million children will access better diets

A woman explaining nutritious food for children to other women and caregivers

Caregivers of 15 million children will learn about their nutritional needs

A woman smiling as she sells fish and vegetables in the market

Food systems in 13 countries will respond to children's needs and become inclusive and sustainable

“Before, I would leave my children all day without feeding them. Now, I am very careful to give them a balanced diet in quantity and quality”.

- Nikuze, a mother of five from DR Congo, after attending educational talks on nutrition and cooking demonstrations 

A mother carrying her daughter

Only with your support to this game-changing investment in nutrition can we significantly reduce malnutrition and positively impact economies and societies.


  • UNICEF has been a leader for child nutrition for over 75 years, continually demonstrating expertise and commitment to the world's children.
  • UNICEF works at scale and reaches even the hardest to reach at country, regional and global levels.
  • UNICEF has the technical expertise across social sectors necessary to support diets, services and practices that promote good nutrition.
  • UNICEF has the networks, convening power and expertise to make transformational change happen for children.
A UNICEF staff with a mother and her child, all smiling

Together let's take action for children in West and Central Africa!