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Relief Society Leads Global Effort to Improve Health and Well-being of Women and Children

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is expanding its efforts to help women and children under 5 around the world.

Led by the General Relief Society Presidency of the Church, the aim is to strengthen health and nutrition programs by teaming up with eight nonprofit organizations. These programs will benefit millions of children globally. The nonprofits are:

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

Contribution and Impact

While in Central America observing some of the work initiated last year to help women and children, Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson announced how the efforts will expand. The Church is giving US$55.8 million to the organizations above. They will use the funds to bless women and children in 12 high-need countries.

This money will reach 12 million kids under 5 and 2.7 million expectant and new moms in the following locations: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Zambia.

“Global progress starts with nourishing children and strengthening women,” President Johnson said. “When you bless a woman, you bless a family, a community, a nation. When you bless a child, you invest in the future.”

President Johnson’s counselors visited other locations where the Church is expanding and accelerating its help for vulnerable women and children.

In Accra, Ghana, First Counselor J. Anette Dennis said she hopes this collaboration becomes a model others follow. “It’s been so incredible to see these organizations that are so invested in child nutrition and mothers’ well-being,” she said.

In Guadalajara, Mexico, Second Counselor Kristin M. Yee has witnessed the power of self-sacrifice.

“I’ve seen many sisters offer their very best to the Lord,” Sister Yee said. “They take care of those in their own homes, their communities and their neighborhoods.”

This new funding will support evidence-based health programs, including:

  • Treating and preventing malnutrition in women, infants and young children
  • Providing maternal mental health care and
  • Strengthening food systems

These resources will improve nutrition access, enhance health systems and focus on women’s and children’s well-being.

Sarah Bouchie, CEO of Helen Keller Intl, said the assistance from the Church of Jesus Christ is precious.

“Scaling up cost-effective, proven nutrition services is essential to transforming the lives of mothers and children globally,” Bouchie said. “We are grateful for the extraordinary investment in nutrition from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In partnership with our peer organizations, this investment will help communities create lasting change so that every child has the opportunity to grow up healthy.”

Tim Prewitt, president and CEO of The Hunger Project, said he is honored to be part of a team working to “bring forward a vision of a hunger-free future where moms, children and their communities have the opportunity to thrive.”

President Johnson said all eight organizations have an “exceptional track record” of collaborating to improve maternal and child health.

“Our goal is to help them scale their work and bring women and children the much-needed health and nutrition services they need,” President Johnson said. “We are confident in their abilities and their proven results around the world.”

Why Is This Important?

Some 3 billion people globally cannot afford a healthy diet and are at risk of malnutrition. Among kids under 5, 148 million are stunted (not growing properly) and 45 million are wasted (too thin).

Maternal health is crucial for child nutrition. Proper nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding helps moms and their children stay healthy. Given these alarming numbers, this collaboration is vital to make progress.

“Mothers are at the center of homes and communities around the world,” added President Johnson. “When they are healthy and can provide nutritious meals for their children, they thrive. As I travel throughout the world, I have seen firsthand how unique and different women’s realities are. However, all mothers have at least one thing in common: They want to feed their children so they can feed the future.”

The organizations are already working together. Following a recent meeting in Accra, their representatives are preparing to share updates at the Nutrition for Growth summit in Paris, France, scheduled for March 2025.

The Relief Society General Presidency

The Relief Society General Presidency is called to lead the Relief Society, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ organization for women, which has millions of members worldwide. The presidency is composed of a president, who is called by the President of the Church, and two counselors. These three women travel around the world to visit, teach and minister to the women of the Church. They also counsel with other general Church leaders regarding global humanitarian efforts and strengthen women and families of all backgrounds.

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