Ndeye Ngom is a first-time mother in Senegal’s Fatick region, 150 kilometers southeast of Dakar, the capital city of Senegal. And like any parent, upon hearing the news that her daughter, 9-month-old Khady Faye, was underweight, Ndeye grew immediately worried. “I panicked when they told me the baby is malnourished,” Ndeye remembers. “This is not a disease we know.”
Ndeye’s concern for her daughter was not unfounded. Childhood stunting, an overarching measure of long-term malnutrition, has life-long consequences: It can reduce cognitive abilities, limit school attainment, decrease adult wages, and make children less likely to escape poverty as adults.