Help Save a Child from Malnutrition

Every minute matters for malnourished children. You can help save a child by providing urgent treatment and care.


About this appeal

Right now, in countries like Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Yemen, children are going hungry.

The impact of COVID-19, conflict and insecurity, drought and increased food prices are making it challenging for parents trying to keep their children healthy and well fed.

Children need the right food, at the right time for their brains and bodies to develop properly. When a child misses out on important vitamins and nutrients, this is when malnutrition occurs.

UNICEF has been treating malnourished children like Ghosson (above) for decades. We're the world's largest supplier of the therapeutic food used to treat malnutrition.

And we'll continue to treat as many hungry children as we can - but we need your help.

You can help save a child from malnutrition, please donate $63* now.

Every minute matters when a child's life is on the line.

"The pandemic has created a global nutrition crisis for children.

UNICEF estimates that an additional 9 million children are at risk of wasting, the most severe form of malnutrition. School closures and mounting poverty have left millions of children food insecure."

- UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell

Malnutrition is a deadly threat to children’s survival.

A malnourished child is much more susceptible to illness and disease, and can suffer irreversible life-long physical and cognitive damage, or worse. Of all deaths of children under 5 years - 45% are linked to malnutrition**.

But the good news is, together we can reach and treat malnourished children.

We call our therapeutic food, Plumpy’nut. It’s a peanut paste, full of vitamins and nutrients, and comes in a packet that we give to children suffering from malnutrition.

One packet of Plumpy’Nut costs around 50 cents - about the same price as a piece of fruit in Aotearoa!

3 packets of Plumpy’Nut a day, for around six weeks, can be all it takes to help a child survive malnutrition. That’s just $63 dollars to save a child from malnutrition.

Plumpy’Nut can be a lifesaver for kids. And so can you.

Please donate today to save a child from deadly malnutrition.

*$63 could provide 126 packets of emergency food for a malnourished child. 6-8 weeks of treatment is enough to save a child from malnutrition.


Appeal page updated 19th April.

Your life-saving monthly donations will support this appeal for 6 months. After that they will go into our Global Parent fund to save and protect children worldwide.


How will you help

Your donation enables UNICEF to continue our all-important lifesaving nutritional work for children and families.

You'll be ensuring we can screen, diagnose and treat malnourished children quickly. And help them recover their health and get the best start in life.

You'll be helping provide emergency food, therapeutic milk and micro-nutrient powder to malnourished children in the most need.

You'll be making sure mums, dads, and caregivers receive sound information and advice on childhood nutrition - leading to better outcomes for at risk children.

This year, with your help, we want to reach more children and save more lives. Your donation will help us reach the following goals*.


Update (3)

Appeal updates

War in Ukraine creates a malnutrition nightmare for millions of children

Published on Tue Apr 19 2022

For children in countries already experiencing food insecurity and a rise in malnutrition, the war in Ukraine is adding to the nightmare.

In hunger 'hotspots' such as Sudan, Syria and Yemen, the disruption to imports is creating shortages across essential supplies, such as wheat, edible oils and fuel. The longer the conflict continues, the greater the impact will be on children who were already struggling with conflicts, economic crises or sharp increases in food prices of their own.

“With ongoing conflicts, political instability, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the Middle East and North Africa region is witnessing unprecedented hikes in food prices coupled with low purchasing power. The number of malnourished children is likely to drastically increase.” Adele Khodr, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Only 36 per cent of children in the region are receiving the diets they need to grow and develop in a healthy way. And on average, nearly one in five children is stunted.

In the countries most impacted by the war in Ukraine, malnutrition rates are higher:

  • In Yemen, 45 per cent of children are stunted and over 86 per cent have anaemia.

  • In Sudan, 13.6 per cent of children suffer from wasting, 36.4 per cent are stunted and nearly half have anaemia.

  • In Lebanon, 94 per cent of young children are not receiving the diets they need, while over 40 per cent of women and children under the age of five have anaemia.

  • In Syria, just one in four young children is getting the diet they need to grow healthy. The average price of a food basket nearly doubled in 2021.

“UNICEF continues to coordinate the nutrition response in the region. We call to consolidate efforts to urgently deliver and scale up prevention, early detection and treatment of malnutrition to address the needs of millions of children and women, especially in countries most impacted by crises. This is critical to prevent a massive malnutrition crisis for children in the region”.

UNICEF is working with partners to deliver and scale-up life-saving malnutrition treatment services for children. Simultaneously, alongside partners, UNICEF is delivering preventive nutrition services, including micronutrient supplements, growth monitoring and counselling, and support on breastfeeding and age-appropriate complementary feeding.

“We stand ready to facilitate the revamping of the nutrition response in the region to further strengthen links with agriculture, social protection, education and water and sanitation sectors to reach more children in need”.

Drought in Ethiopia pushes families to the brink

Published on Fri Feb 11 2022

In Ethiopia, three consecutive failed rainy seasons have brought severe drought to the country's lowland regions. In Afar, Oromia, the Southern Nations and Somali regions, water wells are drying up, killing livestock and crops and pushing hundreds of thousands of children and their families to the brink.

“The impact of the drought is devastating,” said Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Ethiopia Representative.

“Children and their families are struggling to survive due to loss of livelihoods and livestock and it is projected that more than 6.8 million people will be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance by mid-March 2022. We are also witnessing major displacement out of affected areas.”

“In drought-affected areas in Oromia and Somali around 225,000 malnourished children and over 100,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women need urgent nutrition support,” said Rotigliano.

“The lack of clean water is further exacerbating the situation for children and women. If children are forced to drink contaminated water, it puts them at risk to various diseases including diarrhoea which is a major cause of deaths among children under five.”

We are projecting that in 2022, an estimated 850,000 children will be severely malnourished across the four regions due to multiple causes namely conflict, drought, and economic downturn.

In response, UNICEF, in close coordination with the local authorities, is working tirelessly to provide life-saving assistance to those desperately in need. This includes the rehabilitation of boreholes and water schemes, emergency water trucking, treatment of severely malnourished children and providing emergency education and child protection support.

Meet Ghosson Ibrahim.

Published on Wed Oct 13 2021


Little Ghosson Ibrahim is 18-months old. She lives in Yemen with her family.

When UNICEF first met Ghosson she was very ill. She had ensure endured five days of fever, a chest infection and watery diarrhoea. She was fading fast.

Her mother brought her to a UNICEF supported hospital, where her arm was measured at just 9.2cm in circumference.

“Doctors told me she was suffering from severe acute malnutrition” said Ghosson’s mother.

Ghosson needed urgent life-saving treatment.

Watch: Ghosson's story as told by her father

Thanks to UNICEF donors, Ghosson received medicines to fight the chest infection and diarrhoea. And once she was stabilised, she began specialised nutritional treatment to help her put on weight and recover.

“I started to notice that her condition is improving, as her weight was 5 kilos before and now it is 7 kilos” said Ghosson’s mother relieved.


While Ghosson recovers, at UNICEF we turn our attention to the many more malnourished children who need our help.

By the end of the year in Afganistan, UNICEF is bracing for half of all children under 5 to being suffering from malnutrition. That's 3.2 million boys and girls.

In Ethiopia's tigray region, we're expecting a ten-fold increase in the number of children experiencing malnutrition in the next 12 months.

UNICEF has decades of experience identifying and treating malnourished children. And while children like Ghosson remain in urgent need, we will continue reach as many as we can.

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