News Release

Sister Dennis Meets with Non-profit Organizations to Implement Child Malnutrition Initiative

Eight collaborating organizations meet with Church leaders in Accra, Ghana

On 4-7 June 2024, J. Anette Dennis, First Counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with representatives from eight nonprofit organizations to develop strategies for implementing the Church’s Maternal and Child Wellbeing Initiative.  The meetings took place in Accra, Ghana.

These meetings were held in preparation for the 12 June announcement that the Church was donating $55.8 million to improve the health and well-being of women and children globally.  The donation will benefit 12 million children and 2.7 million women in 12 countries.

Joining Sister Dennis was Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, General Authority Seventy and President of the Africa West Area of the Church, and Elder Alfred Kyungu, General Authority Seventy and counselor in the Area presidency.  

Led by the General Relief Society Presidency, the aim of the program is to strengthen health and nutrition programs by teaming up with the eight organizations represented at the meetings in Ghana.  The organizations were chosen based on years of collaboration with the Church of Jesus Christ and previous successful outcomes. 

The organizations chosen to assist in the implementation were:

  • CARE International
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Helen Keller International
  • iDE
  • MAP International
  • Save the Children
  • The Hunger Project
  • Vitamin Angels

The purpose of the meetings in Accra was to align the organizations with each other and share their developing implementation.  This alignment will allow the organizations to work in consortiums that weave together their efforts to expand and accelerate the aims of the program. By working together in consortiums, they will increase impact by leveraging unique strengths, resources, and expertise.

As the workshops convened, Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, a General Authority Seventy and President of the Africa West Area of the Church, noted the particular value of these projects in Africa.

“We recognize that sub-Saharan Africa has one of the highest levels of child malnutrition globally.  Directing our humanitarian efforts towards alleviating child malnutrition will have far reaching benefits…affecting health, social development, and the economic productivity of our rising generation,” Elder Nielsen said.  “We now stand ready to assist in this urgent and effective intervention and look forward to the great innovations that these collaborations will bring.”

Sister Dennis noted the investment of all the organizations in child nutrition and mothers’ well-being. “By being here today, you have committed to providing 12 million children within the first 2,000 days of life with the foundational building blocks of nutrition. This includes 3 million women preparing to become mothers. That is 12 million future leaders and 3 million families with a generational impact we cannot measure.”

Over the course of the three-day workshop, the non-profit organizations and representatives from the Church’s Welfare and Self-reliance and Global Priorities departments, worked together in four consortiums.  These consortiums focused on how they could empower families, build stronger communities, improve overall health services, and strengthen policies. 

Jenna Recuber, Global VP of The Hunger Project said, “When we focus on the children, we build strong communities. We want to create enabling environments that allow children and communities to thrive.  We are creating a platform that will amplify the voices of our community partners.”

Shawn Baker, Chief Program Officer for Helen Keller Intl observed that all the organizations attending were united by their commitment to being a force for good. “Child hunger is not their fate; it is the result of complacency.  We know what to do to fix this and have gathered the people and resources to achieve that outcome.”

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