News Roundup: Special Africa Edition

For today’s roundup we are highlighting stories from our work in Africa. Read on and be inspired!

Tanzania

The dawn of 2016 brought with it good tidings for children of Masanganya Primary School in Kisarawe district: it marked the end of a four-year period of going without meals while in school. The school used to benefit from mid-morning porridge, but this was halted due to challenges that made food preparation impractical.

Early this year, Feed the Children renovated the school’s kitchen, replenished the cooking utensils and provided foodstuffs to aid in preparing mid-morning porridge for more than 400 kids in the elementary school.

Both pupils and teachers are happy with the developments. “We are very delighted that this program has resumed,” said the deputy head teacher, Deus Kimpalamba. “You can see that the children are happy to have porridge during the break. Some of them come from home without breakfast, and having to spend the whole day hungry is very hard.” The mid-morning porridge is fortified with vitamins and minerals, so it improves the nutritional status of the children in addition to reducing their hunger and keeping them in school.

Photo above: A pupil at Masanganya Primary School enjoying a cup of fortified porridge.

Uganda

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Feed the Children staff show a woman how best to hold a child when breastfeeding.

 

More than 100 mothers in Northern Uganda’s Amuru District were trained last month in infant and young child feeding. The one-day training took place at the Pabbo Health Centre in Gulu and was facilitated by Feed the Children staff and an officer in charge of the health center. The training helped breastfeeding and expectant mothers learn about infant nutrition. It focused on maternal nutrition during pre-conception and pregnancy, the importance of breastfeeding, position and attachment during breastfeeding, and an overview of HIV/AIDS and infant feeding.

The training was participatory and included demonstrations. The mothers appreciated the skills gained at the training. “I am very lucky to be here today,” said one mother. “Thank you so much Feed the Children for all the help you have offered to our community. I have benefitted a lot from this.”

Another mother spoke of her joy and asked that such trainings be expanded to reach more mothers. The training is part of Feed the Children’s Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) programs that aim to sensitize expectant and new mothers on proper nutrition and feeding of children.

Kenya

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Yikiatine Primary School Headteacher (left) walks with two scientists from ICRAF through the garden in her school during the visit.

Feed the Children and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) representatives made their first joint field visit early this month in order to follow up on a gardening project introduced to Yikiatine and Makutano primary schools in the Mwala district.

The ‘Fruiting Africa project’ is funded by ICRAF and implemented by Feed the Children. It seeks to increase wealth and health of poor farming communities through enhanced cultivation, processing, marketing and consumption of a diversity of fruits and vegetables.

Scientists from ICRAF who joined in the trip were pleased by the progress of the gardens. Dr. Katja Kehlenbeck, one of the scientists with ICRAF, expressed her delight in the development of the gardens. “We are very happy to see this. We have seen some of your projects in Kajiado do well, and we are happy with this progress.”

The visit follows a training conducted in October to sensitize members of the Schools’ Management Committees (SMCs) on the different nutritional value of various indigenous vegetables and fruits. The training also covered proper land preparation and crop management for kitchen gardens as well as environmental conservation as a key to sustainability.

The schools in turn established the kitchen gardens and grew various fruits and vegetables including mangoes, onions, spinach, kale, bananas, guavas, lemons, paw-paw and custards, among other plants. “We got to learn that these fruits that we call wild are actually healthy, and we love them a lot,” said Makutano DEB Primary School’s head teacher, Eunice Mutua. The teacher said that some vegetables are used to supplement the diets in the schools.

Malawi

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Children from Chapinduka carry placards in celebration of the attainment of the milestone.

It was a historic moment for Feed the Children and the Malawi government two months ago when Traditional Authority Chapinduka (a region of the country) was declared Open Defecation Free (ODF). Since 2010, the government of Malawi has used funding from the Global Sanitation Fund to implement hygiene and sanitation interventions across the country with the purpose of making Malawi an ODF zone.

Five years down the line, two traditional Authorities in the country had been declared ODF free, and Chapinduka became the third (but the first in the Northern part of Malawi) thanks to Feed the Children’s intervention. It took Feed the Children one and a half years to achieve this milestone.

Gathering to witness the significant occasion were officials from the government of Malawi, Plan Malawi, Feed the Children staff, government officials from Rumphi district council and community members from Chapinduka. Chiefs from across Rumphi were also invited to witness the occasion and learn from their fellow chief how he made it with his subjects.

Traditional Authority Chapinduka is mountainous and only accessible by foot or boat. It has a population of slightly over 5,000 people. At the start of the project, 81% of the households had toilets and today, 98% of the households do.

Happy World Water Day!

Happy World Water Day!

To celebrate this important day, we want to introduce you to Lashiwe. She lives in Malawi in a small community we serve. The majority of the population live in mud- and grass-thatched houses, with a few in brick and grass-thatched houses. There’s no electricity, so residents depend on batteries and solar sources of power.

Before Feed the Children began working in the community, proper hygiene and sanitation practices weren’t part of day-to-day life: washing hands after toilet use, throwing garbage in a designated pit, covering the toilet after use to prevent flies, and covering drinking water to prevent contamination. The people simply didn’t know to do these things.

Yet their kids would get sick regularly, and parents didn’t know why. Lashiwe’s mother, Maria, would wonder why her children seemed to suffer from such chronic intestinal distress.

The UN World Water Day was instituted for children just like Lashiwe—to raise awareness of the importance of fresh water and to encourage people to work for clean water around the world. The World Health Organization estimates that 783 million people live without access to safe drinking water, and some 2.5 billion people—almost a third of the world’s population— lack sanitation facilities.

We work hard each day for children like Lashiwe. One of the four pillars of our international work is Health & Water. Clean water and proper sanitation are vital to thriving communities.

It doesn’t matter how healthy a child’s diet is, if all they drink is dirty water.

In fiscal year 2014, Feed the Children’s water projects benefited more than 63,400 children and families, providing them with clean-water systems such as wells, water lines, and rainwater-catchment systems. We built school toilets that benefited more than 4,600 pupils; and provided direct clinical care to more than 19,300 individuals through its dedicated staff and volunteers.

Through care group sessions organized through Feed the Children, Lashiwe’s mother Maria received vital training in hygiene and sanitation. She learned to make hand washing facilities for her house and how to clean her home most effectively to reduce disease. She learned the importance of having a garbage pit for her house, and how to cover the toilet with a drop hole cover.

Today, Lashiwe and her friends are healthier and happier, with disease outbreaks greatly reduced. “We are grateful to Feed the Children for introducing water, hygiene and sanitation interventions in our community,” Maria says. “My family will never be the same again.”

And what does Lashiwe say? “I like washing my hands using this system!” And what child doesn’t love to splash around in good clean water?

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How will you celebrate World Water Day? One simple way is to be aware of how much water we use in the United States, and how different that is from many places around the world. The average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day. On average, approximately 70 percent of that water is used indoors, with the bathroom being the largest consumer (a toilet alone can use 27 percent!).

Water’s one of those things that’s easy to take for granted. Most of us turn on the faucet without a second thought, and our daily shower is just another chore, not a moment for gratitude. But even something as simple as washing our hands can be a moment to pause and be aware of the abundance so many of us enjoy.

Feed the Children makes it easy to put your awareness into action to help children just like Lashiwe. Read more about our Heath & Water projects, and shop our gift catalog for gifts that will bring the gift of life-giving water to children, families, and communities around the globe.

News Roundup, December 14, 2015

Every two weeks we share short updates on our work throughout the organization and among our many corporate and non-profit partners. Enjoy and be inspired!  

Hope at the Holidays

Feed the Children brought some holiday hope to 1,000 families in Lansing, Michigan recently, working together with a very special partner—basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

It’s the second year for the Magic Johnson Foundation’s Holiday Hope program, which began last year in Detroit.

“This is where I’m from,” said Johnson, quoted in the Lansing State Journal. “I wanted to bless some families here, and not just families, but the kids as well. I wanted to come home and do something positive, something good.”

12289720_1174365902592732_6069625811917437429_nJohnson brought his own family members with him, along with Michigan State University’s men’s basketball team and coach Tom Izzo, who handed out toys and coats to children inside the school before helping with the food distribution.

The event took place a few weeks ago at Everett High School. Families received a 25-pound box of food; a 10-pound box of items such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion and personal care items; and a box of Avon products.

We’re thankful to the Magic Johnson Foundation, the Michigan State men’s basketball team, and all of the volunteers and partners who made this holiday hope possible.

 

Around the World with Feed the Children

Me with Daniel (edited)If you haven’t seen Tanya Roloff’s dispatches from her recent trips to Kenya, Uganda and the Philippines, you’re missing out! Tanya is Producer, Writer, and Photographer for Feed the Children and offers her perspectives while traveling #aroundtheworldin30days.

As she prepared for her trip, she reflected on her role as storyteller for the children we serve and are inspired by every day: “This, to me, is one of the biggest rewards of my work — to give these resilient, beautiful, talented, incredible people a voice and a platform to share their struggles, hopes, dreams, pains, fears.” And you won’t want to miss her account of meeting a precious little boy named Daniel. Daniel hasn’t had an easy life, but thanks to the dedication of Feed the Children staff, as well as our donors and partners, he has hope for a fresh start.

Thank you Tanya for sharing your experiences and passion with us. Check out her blogs here and here.

 

Coats for the Winter

One Warm Coat, First Book, and Feed the Children have joined forces with outerwear manufacturer Tahsin USA to distribute an estimated 20,000 coats, hats, gloves, pants, and rain gear to families across America.

With the arrival of cold weather in much of the US, these organizations are collaborating to create a supply chain that will get outerwear to families in need. Shipments are being handled by FTC Transportation and are distributed to Feed the Children partner agencies across the US. Big thanks to Tahsin, First Book and One Warm Coat! Together we are making a difference. To learn more about our partners in this effort: www.onewarmcoat.org and www.firstbook.org.

 

Kudos for H.E.L.P.

Feed the Children’s Homeless Education and Literacy ProgramFeed the Children’s Homeless Education and Literacy Program (H.E.L.P.) has received a 2015 President’s Award by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY). During their tenure, NAEHCY Board Presidents have the opportunity to grant a national recognition award to outstanding partners who have made a positive national impact. For the last decade, the H.E.L.P. program has been benefiting students experiencing homelessness by partnering with NAEHCY to distribute backpacks, books, school supplies, non-perishable food and personal-care items.

Feed the Children connects with NAEHCY leaders, state coordinators and other McKinney-Vento leaders in all 50 states. Throughout the last 10 years, the program has donated more than $35 million dollars in supplies and more than 900,000 backpacks.

Kids all over the world need backpacks and school supplies—to help provide these essentials so kids can learn and thrive, check out our gift catalog.

 

Improving Community Sanitation

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A child from Thochi Community Based Child Care Centre in Malawi visits a latrine at his home. Through use of care group volunteers, the Feed the Children office in Malawi has trained community members on proper health and sanitation practices.

The Feed the Children office in Kenya joined stakeholders, community members and school children in Kajiado and Turkana Counties to mark World Toilet Day on November 19.

In Turkana, the event was held at Kaikor Baraza park in Kibish Sub County while in Kajiado, stakeholders gathered to mark the day at Entaretoi village.

Through the Health & Water pillar, Feed the Children implements activities geared towards improving the sanitation status of communities. One of the pillar’s key outcomes is to increase sanitation facilities coverage in institutions and households in order to reduce and eventually eliminate diarrheal diseases associated with open defecation.

For the past three years, Feed the Children has constructed and rehabilitated 149 latrines in the urban slums of Nairobi, Kajiado and Samburu counties in order to reduce the struggles some children face for lack of access to latrines.

World Toilet Day is marked annually with an aim to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge. It was created in 2001 to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper sanitation that over 2.5 billion people face.

 

Music with a Purpose

blah2GRAMMY®-nominated NewSong performed at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia this weekend as part of their Very Merry Christmas Tour. Benefiting Feed the Children, the festive night featured GRAMMY®-nominated pop/rockers Building 429 and best-selling singer/songwriter Plumb, the band Reno, as well as special guest, three-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Darrell Waltrip.

We’re proud to partner with artists all over the country to help inspire generosity through child sponsorship. As Jeremy Willet, Artist Relations Event Manager for Feed the Children, wrote recently on our blog: “What if this Christmas, you and your family added another ‘first’ to your list? What if the Christmas of 2015 will be remembered as the Christmas in which you sponsored a child at one of your favorite concerts?”

“The Christmas tour always proves to be one of the highlights of our year,” said NewSong founding member and Atlanta native Eddie Carswell. “It’s a time to celebrate the hope we’ve been given through Jesus’ birth, and it will be an honor to lead audiences in worshipping Him with our friends Building 429 and Plumb.”

To learn more about the tours happening this month, and how they benefit Feed the Children, check out Jeremy’s blog.