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What is the Global Malnutrition Initiative?

Save the Children’s Global Malnutrition Initiative (GMI) aims to galvanise increased action to prevent, diagnose, and treat child acute malnutrition* in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, including Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. 

The GMI is supported by our Patron Sir Mo Farah.

Through rigorous research, the GMI seeks to test and scale up simplified, cost-effective approaches to diagnose and treat acute malnutrition at the community level. 

We are also working to better understand relapse – when a child who has been treated for acute malnutrition becomes malnourished once again – so that, in time, we may be able to design better interventions to prevent this from happening. Finally, we advocate for the adoption, financing and scale-up of these approaches by our partners and policymakers at both national and global level. 


*Acute malnutrition is also known as ‘wasting’, when children are thin for their height because of acute food shortages or disease. Acute malnutrition is characterised by a rapid deterioration in nutritional status over a short period of time in children under five years of age.

Why acute malnutrition?

  • In 2019, acute malnutrition threatened the lives of an estimated 47 million children under five globally.
  • Undernutrition is associated with 45% of all child deaths. 
  • A child with acute malnutrition is nine times more likely to die from common childhood illnesses, including pneumonia.
Noura*, 15 months, with her sister, Shadia, eight, Lahj district, Yemen.

We are committed to tackling this enormous threat to child survival, as part of our collective effort to end preventable child deaths – including those caused by acute malnutrition – by 2030. Save the Children has significant health and nutrition programming globally, of which the GMI forms part.
We are always looking for innovative corporate brands and philanthropic individuals to partner with Save the Children and help scale up the impact we can deliver, together, for children through the GMI. If you would like to find out how you or your company can be involved, please contact our team at GMI@savethechildren.org.uk

The threat of Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has added between 83 and 132 million people to the total number of undernourished in the world in 2020. 

The impact of the pandemic is being felt the most in low-income countries, where conflict, climate shocks and pests such as locusts already contribute to growing food insecurity. 

With very little government support available, starvation is a very real threat for the most vulnerable children and their families.   

The world is already off-track to meet Sustainable Development Goal Target 2, Zero Hunger, by 2030 and COVID-19 is a huge threat to the progress made. 

“Lawrence is my little brother that I love very much and I would do anything to help him,” Leolida, 12

How Your donations help

  • £35,000 could provide more than 200 community and facility-based health workers with personal protective equipment
  • £70,000 could procure enough cartons of therapeutic food to treat more than 2,000 children for acute malnutirion
  • Just over £100,000 could enable us to keep four health facilities open and treating children with malnutrition for three months in Hodeidah, Yemen


If you would like to find out how you or your company can be involved, please contact our team at GMI@savethechildren.org.uk

Find out more

Our GMI team produce regular reports on our work and how we utilise funding and stories of the children we have supported, and overviews of our work in our priority countries. To be kept updated and sign up to our monthly newsletters please email GMI@savethechildren.org.uk. You can read our latest reports below;

Other ways you can get involved