40 days for the 1,000 Days Movement
The 1,000 days from pregnancy through a child’s second birthday are the most crucial for a child’s development. Without adequate nutrition during this critical period, children suffer permanent cognitive and physical delays. Photo: Bread for the World.
We have been talking about the 1,000 Day Movement since the Triennial Convention and Gathering in 2011. We will continue to advocate for better nutrition for women and children in the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday. The delegates to the convention committed our organization and its participants to this.
This 1,000 day window is critical for giving a child a healthy start in life. Simple, cost-effective measures help: breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months, adding appropriate nutritious food through age two, improving sanitation through hand-washing and adding nutrient dense foods to a mother’s diet. This strong foundation can lead to better school performance, greater income throughout life and ultimately a 2-3% increase in a low income country’s gross domestic product. The Copenhagen Consensus reports that every dollar invested in nutrition can have up to a $136 return. It is a small investment given the future pay back!
Doing justice work requires stamina, passion and a solid faith. Therefore, all time spent in the Word of God, prayer and contemplation on this justice issue pays off a hundredfold. To support us in our commitment this Lenten season, Bread for the World and the Women of Faith for the 1,000 Days Movement have unveiled a series of Lenten materials for individual and group use.
The downloadable Lenten resources include Bible studies addressing the lessons of the Sundays that fall between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Any one of them would nurture an individual, a family or a circle! Use all of the studies—one for each week—and you will be nurtured in your commitment to food justice!
There are also daily Lenten disciplines, including reflections posted on the Bread Blog (blog.bread.org), activities to engage children, youth and adults and worship aids that you can use during your congregational worship or in small group worship. There is a retreat outline that you can adapt using the materials provided in the resource. And if this Lenten season leads folks in your church or circle to become a “champion” for nutrition in your community, there is a liturgy for blessing those who feel called.