UK philanthropist donates £517m to tackle childhood malnutrition

UK philanthropist donates £517m to tackle childhood malnutrition

News (International)

Philanthropist and hedge fund manager, Chris Hohn, has donated £517m through his foundation, at the Nutrition for Growth summit to tackle childhood malnutrition. The summit was hosted in London by David Cameron, the Brazilian vice-president, Michel Temer and Hohn’s wife, Jamie Cooper-Hohn, who runs the couple’s Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF).

The summit brought together funders, scientists, the voluntary sector and politicians to tackle children’s malnutrition across the world. Among the participants were Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny, philanthropist Bill Gates, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Unilever chief executive Paul Polman. The summit attracted £2.7bn of funding in total, including £655m from the British Government.

Hohn donates a percentage of profits from his hedge fund, TCI, directly to CIFF. Speaking at the summit, President of CIFF, Cooper-Hohn said: “Undernutrition is the underlying cause of almost half of global child deaths and one third of maternal mortality.” Every day more than 8,000 children die from preventable undernutrition-related causes.

The Foundation applies a target driven, evidence-based approach to its funding. Cooper-Hohn says: “CIFF is committed to successfully marrying the acumen and discipline of the private sector with the best thinking and evidence of what works in development. We are aware that our approach is a substantial divergence from the norm of development funding. The truth is that implementing our strategy is proving challenging and, often, uncomfortable; but the evidence is building that it delivers impact for children.”

Over the last four years, CIFF has increased its level of investment by 40 per cent and in 2012 it invested nearly £56m in childhood nutrition, education and climate change.

Participants at the summit signed a Global Nutrition for Growth Compact to commit their countries and organisations by 2020 to:

  • improving the nutrition of 500 million pregnant women and young children
  • reducing the number of children under five who are stunted by an additional 20 million
  • saving the lives of at least 1.7 million children by preventing stunting, increasing breastfeeding and better treatment of severe and acute malnutrition

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