After an amazing summer working at our partner site, the Health Outreach and Peer Education (H.O.P.E.) Center, in Ho, Ghana, I am pleased to announce that exciting new initiatives are looming on the horizon.
With the support and guidance of the Center’s staff and community members, the four of us GlobeMed students were able to help develop new avenues to take the Childhood Nutrition Program. During our time in Ghana, the number of community demonstration farms was expanded to a total of four (one at the Center, two in the nearby village Ando, and another one in the village Kodzobi). The addition of these farms will help to reach a broader community, as more people are taught how to properly plant and harvest soybeans to fortify their children’s meals.
To promote sustainability, the peer education training materials of the program were updated and six more people will be trained in the coming year. Currently, three women have been educated as nutrition program ambassadors. They are responsible for helping run the cooking demonstrations and counsel community members in proper nutritional practices. These peer educators will act as liaisons between their community and the H.O.P.E. Center by promoting the nutrition program and identifying any concerns that come to light.
In addition, each student conducted community mapping surveys to better identify areas of health (infectious diseases, nutrition, sanitation, and sexual health) that can be improved among the Center’s catchment areas. Our results indicate that there are specific knowledge gaps, especially in relation to proper nutrition, that exist within certain subgroups of the communities. For instance, there is the potential to expand the nutrition program to include pregnant women. This population group could greatly benefit from the lessons taught during the nutrition program, since healthier eating during pregnancy can lead to a healthier mother and child. Already, work is underway to expand the nutrition program to include pregnant women.
Our time working at the Center this summer convinced us of the significance of the Nutrition Program; we have seen first-hand its positive effect on the community. One mother in Ando explained to me how she has gained a much deeper understanding of proper nutrition and consciously works to promote healthy eating practices among her friends and family. It is our sincere desire that more people will have the opportunity to experience the positive effects of the Nutrition Program and act as advocates within their own communities. It is easy to see that this dream is rapidly becoming a reality and we can’t wait to see what the upcoming year will bring!
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