Reducing Malnutrition

The Challenge

  • Nearly two billion people suffer from malnutrition caused by a lack of basic nutrients in their food. Malnutrition stunts both physical and mental health, causes blindness.
  • Helen Keller International’s pioneering work in the 1970’s revealed the connection between vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and child survival. We collaborated in the groundbreaking research that first identified that controlling VAD not only can prevent a lifetime of darkness, but can also result in a reduction in child mortality.
  • Our work with vitamin A led us to expand our efforts to also address the life-threatening role played by the lack of other micronutrients in the diets of people living in developing countries. Deficiencies in iron and zinc, for example, can negatively impact the health, growth and survival of children, including their educational performance and immunity to illnesses, and the health and pregnancies of affected women.

HKI Solutions

At Helen Keller International, we dedicate ourselves to reducing malnutrition by providing low-cost vitamin and mineral supplements to millions of the most hard-to-reach, deeply vulnerable people around the world, and by encouraging people and communities to make simple and inexpensive changes to their food production and consumption that collectively result in saving the sight and lives of millions of people worldwide.

  • Helen Keller International’s Vitamin A Supplementation program has helped reverse the devastation caused by vitamin A deficiency. Last year alone, HKI reached 50 million children in Africa and Asia by providing them twice-yearly sight and lifesaving treatments of vitamin A at a cost of just $1.00 per child per year.
  • HKI's Homestead Food Production creates nutritional self-sufficiency for small communities in Africa and Asia through the establishment of thousands of women-tended Homestead Food Production gardens. 
  • Helen Keller International’s Food Fortification and Biofortification programs provide communities and families with more nutritious foods, enabling people to live healthier lives.
  • HKI integrates programs for Managing Acute Malnutrition, using the community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) model, into ongoing child survival and malnutrition prevention programs. This program has since been expanded to Burkina Faso and Mali.
  • Helen Keller International’s nutrition programs operate within the Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) framework, which is designed to deliver an integrated package of cost-effective nutrition actions proven to reduce maternal and child under-nutrition and associated mortality and morbidity.

These programs result in preventing malnutrition and improving the lives of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.


1000 Days BadgeHKI is proud to support the "Thousand Days Movement" and pledges to give malnutrition the absolute priority it deserves and to support early childhood malnutrition interventions that result in real and measureable impacts that are sustainable.