Helen Keller International (HKI)

The mission of Helen Keller International is to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. We combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health and nutrition.
Feb 13, 2012

Creating a Demand for Orange-fleshed Sweetpotatoes

Helen Keller International is continuing to promote orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP) as a way to increase the vitamin A intake of women and children.  We are working with partners to increase the production of OFSP over the more traditionally grown white-fleshed varieties that lack vitamin A.

To create even more demand for OFSP, we are embarking on an intensive social marketing campaign that will educate stakeholders about the comparative nutritional and health advantages of OFSP compared to white fleshed varieties.  We have organized “Sensitization Days” in major markets to publicize and advertise OFSP varieties to producers and consumers alike.

We are also continuing our work to improve the yield of OFSP varieties so OFSP is more attractive for farmers to grow (higher yield = more produce to sell at market).  We are testing new and improved pest and disease control techniques, as well as enhancing our OFSP training for farmers.

Feb 2, 2012

Building Sustainability

Vitamin A Supplementation (VAS) continues to be one of the most effective, well-tested and proven measures to prevent child mortality in developing countries. It is also well understood that reaching the fourth Millennium Development Goal of Reducing Child Mortality in sub-Saharan Africa cannot be achieved without strong and sustainable VAS programming

In Tanzania, Helen Keller International continues to work to ensure VAS becomes institutionalized during twice-yearly Child Health Days (CHDs).  We are working closely with the Ministry of Health and other key partners to determine what type of support is needed for sustained high coverage of VAS/CHDs. 

A recent post-event coverage survey found the leading causes of children missing the CHDs included not hearing about the campaign and the child not being at home during the CHD period. As a result of these findings, HKI is focusing its efforts to expand the current CHD community mobilization campaigns, and is testing new ways to raise awareness for the events, including through SMS/text message, radio talk shows, community leaders and religious leaders.
Sep 30, 2011

Making an Impact!

The project is acheiving considerable success!

The average number of vegetable varieties produced by the village model farms has increased from three at the beginning of the project to ten.

The percentage of households with well-developed gardens increased from one to 68. The average amount of vegetables produced by target households doubled from 20 to 40 kilograms.

Households with improved and developed gardens consumed more vegetables and fruits than households with traditional or no gardens; the average weekly egg consumption by participating household members increased by 20%.

The income earned by participating households increased from 60,000 Riels (15 USD) to 100,000 Riels (25 USD). Most of the income generated from HFP activities was used for purchasing other food items such as beef and fish.