The Power of Nutrition | Turner Kirk Trust

About the UBS Optimus Foundation

The UBS Optimus Foundation is a recognised leader in innovative financing mechanisms for social impact. The Foundation uses results-based funding, partnering with philanthropists who front the money for charitable projects, which are later paid for by governments and end donors based on the outcome achieved. The Foundation takes smart risks on evidence-based, scalable solutions and focuses on health, education and child protection systems as well as tackling environmental degradation and climate change.

The Problem

Nearly 150 million children worldwide are not getting the nutrition they need, leaving over 3.1 million children to die every year — 8,500 every day — from undernutrition.

Those who do manage to survive past the age of five will likely suffer from serious, long-term emotional and physical problems for the rest of the lives. The result of malnutrition is often stunting – impaired growth and development – as well as losing up to 10% of their IQ.

This preventable issue is the cause of 45% of all child mortality globally. In addition to posing a life-threatening danger to children across the world, this problem has serious social and economic consequences for affected countries, cutting their GDP by as much as 11%. Failure to invest in childhood nutrition is a failure to invest in our future and creates a barrier to global growth.

The Project

In 2015, the Turner Kirk Trust provided a £250,000 donation to the UBS Optimus Foundation for their Power of Nutrition Project. This donation was matched between three to five times by partners such as DFID, UNICEF and CIFF.

The Power of Nutrition focused on a specific set of programmes that have been tried, tested and proven to prevent undernutrition. The project centred on countries in which undernutrition is typically very high, such as in sub-Saharan Africa, where up to half of all children suffer from stunted growth.

The aim of the project was to save at least one million children from undernutrition, a target which it has exceeded. The Power of Nutrition worked with partners across a portfolio of countries to provide nutrition-based interventions, such as by supplying folic acid and iron supplements to pregnant women.

The Impact

Through the donation to the Power of Nutrition, the Trust’s support has helped the project to reach 6,309,869 children and 831,022 pregnant women in Tanzania, and 833,282 children and 166,877 pregnant women in Liberia, two of the countries most affected by childhood undernutrition.

In addition, a new £28 million programme was approved for Ethiopia and begun in 2017, while a £63 million program was approved for Madagascar and began the following year. Programs totalling £257 million are also in development for Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Benin, and India. A wider aim of the project is to invest over £700 million and help speed up the end of child undernourishment.

  • Key Successes

  • 7,143,151 children received nutrition-related interventions in Tanzania and Liberia

  • 3,601,399 women of childbearing age and adolescent girls received nutrition-related interventions

  • Two new programmes underway in Ethiopia and Madagascar

Our impact. Recent programmes funded by the Trust