Did you know that South Asia has the highest rates of malnutrition and the largest numbers of undernourished children in the world? About 38-46% of the population suffers from malnutrition, compared to 28% in sub-Saharan Africa. This is surprising, given South Asia’s recent impressive economic growth, and it’s become an urgent priority for development in the region. The effects of malnutrition can be far-flung; for example, a child who is undernourished during his or her first two years is less likely to complete in school and will earn, on average, a 10-17% lower income than one who was well-nourished.
If you’re part of a project that’s addressing malnutrition in South Asia, or just want to learn more about the issues, be sure and check out the South Asia Regional Development Marketplace (DM) . This year, the DM is calling for innovative projects to improve nutrition among infants and children under 2, and also among pregnant women.
(A bit of background: the Development Marketplace  is a competitive grant program that identifies projects that can make a significant development impact. It’s organized by the World Bank and various partners, and takes place at both a global and a regional level.)
On a related note, I recently heard Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, speak at the IMF. He described a joint project by Grameen and Danone  that’s helping to reduce child malnutrition in Bangladesh by developing a yogurt that’s choc full of the micronutrients many Bangladeshi children are deficient in. Affordable even to the poorest, the yogurt is a great example of a successful social business model.