Malnutrition can be deadly for a child like Hafsat. She's eating ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) which is helping save her life.

Global Malnutrition Crisis

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It's the worst hunger emergency of our generation

1 in 3 children under 5 worldwide is affected by malnutrition. That's millions of kids who aren’t getting enough to eat, or the right food to eat, and are becoming malnourished. Every year, malnutrition contributes to the death of more than 3 million children.

This doesn’t have to happen.

Together, with one simple solution, we can save the lives of malnourished kids, before it's too late.

We call it ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF). This life-saving super food is a peanut paste and comes in small but powerful packets. It’s full of the vitamins and essential nutrients that help hungry kids fully recover from malnutrition in just a few weeks.

In 2022, donors helped us save 7.3 million children from severe acute malnutrition. This year, with your help, we can save even more young lives.

Each packet of therapeutic food costs only around 60 cents. Your donation will help us provide as many of these life-saving sachets as we can to children in need.

Donate now to help UNICEF continue to deliver this one simple solution.

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What’s the situation for children?

We estimate there are almost 45 million children under 5 around the world who are acutely malnourished. From Afghanistan to Ethiopia, Burkina Faso to Zimbabwe, many of these kids won’t make it without our help.

That’s why we have one simple solution. Together, we can treat these children and get them back healthy and happy again with our life-saving therapeutic food.

Time isn’t on their side, but we can be.

Watch the video - see how we support malnourished children like 6-month-old Mohamed in Ethiopia.

What’s ready-to-use therapeutic food?

It's an energy dense and nutrient rich peanut paste that comes in easy to store and transport packets. No refrigeration, no water, no spoon required - kids eat it straight from the packet.

It's amazing - just 2-3 packets a day for a matter of weeks can save a child's life.

In 2022, we saved 35% more children from severe acute malnutrition than the year before. This was the most children we'd ever saved in a single year and goes to show just how important these packets of life-saving goodness really are.

Because we’re the largest provider of RUTF in the world, providing around 80% of the world’s supply, we’re able to drive the price down, meaning your donation goes further and helps more kids in need.

Watch the video - find out all you need to know about our life-saving therapeutic food.

How are donors making a difference?

While the global food crisis is hitting children and families hard, UNICEF donors have stepped up to help support our largest ever nutrition response.

Here’s a snapshot of the difference donors helped make in 2022:

  • Reach 7.3 million children under 5 reached with life-saving treatment for severe acute malnutrition.
  • Screen 182 million children under 5 for early detection of malnutrition (18% more than 2021).
  • Reach 356 million children and women with services for the early prevention of malnutrition (6% more than 2021).
  • Helped deliver 5 million cartons of RUTF to malnourished children.

    You can join us to help more hungry kids, it’s easy and you can do it for very little. A donation of 60 cents a day or $18 a month could help deliver 38 packets of therapeutic food each month to kids in need.
UNICEF representative Mariam Sissoko gives high-energy biscuits to Malado Diarra (1) as she sits on her mother's lap at a UNICEF supported Community Health Centre in Mali.

© UNICEF/UN0338556/Babajanyan VII

UNICEF representative Mariam Sissoko offers high-energy biscuits to Malado Diarra (1) as she sits on her mother's lap at a UNICEF supported Community Health Centre.

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    Other ways you can donate

    If you'd like to donate over the phone, call our friendly team on 0800 243 575.

    If you'd like to donate direct to our bank account, please use account 01-0505-0463764-00 and code 'GMC-WS'.

    Other ways you can support hungry kids.

    Help us spread awareness of the situation for hungry kids by sharing this appeal with your friends and family. 

    If you'd like to fundraise with your community to support our work, you can start a fundraiser here.


    In the event that funds raised exceed UNICEF's funding requirements, the appeal no longer needs funding, or the decision is made to close this appeal, your one-off or ongoing monthly donation will go to our Greatest Need Appeal. Where possible we will communicate this with you, however in some circumstances this might not be possible.

    Your life-saving monthly donations will support this appeal for a period of six months. After that they will go into our Greatest Need Fund to save and protect kids worldwide.

    UPDATED: 17th April, 2024

    We’re committed to transparency. To see how we split up expenses and manage our costs, read our annual report or visit UNICEF Open to see a live overview of all our projects.

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    UNICEF Aotearoa is a registered charity with the New Zealand Charities Commission (CC35979), making you eligible for a tax refund of up to a third of your donation. All transactions are billed in New Zealand dollars.

    UNICEF Aotearoa operates from Level 5, 86 Victoria Street, Wellington 6011, New Zealand.