The One Child One World baseline assessment conducted in 2011determined that 30% of orphaned and vulnerable children living in orphanages (homes) in Ghana are underweight, as compared to the national average of 14%. Further, 17% of children in the homes were found to be wasting, a result of acute hunger or recent infection. Accordingly, an essential component of the One Child One World project has been to provide fortified nutritional supplements to the homes in order to help the children reach a solid nutritional baseline. AmeriCares has committed to delivering Xango and other donated nutritionals to Ghana on a regular basis over the next three years to meet these needs, while recognizing the necessity of identifying a sustainable local source of nutrition to maintain the children’s nutritional gains into the future.
Identifying this sustainable food source has been a key focus of OCOW FY13 activities. AmeriCares in-country implementing partner Youth and Social Enterprise Fund (YSEF) has been working closely with the Ghana Health Services’ Nutrition Program, the Department of Food and Nutrition at the University of Ghana, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to identify local solutions. Ghana Health Services has an ongoing program focusing on fortified foods, and is stressing the option of soy milk production, and idea which is currently being explored for participating homes (a budget estimate for implementation of such a scheme is being developed).
In addition, the management of the children’s homes will be encouraged to develop proposals for small-scale, home-based food projects, the best of which will be awarded small start-up grants through OCOW project funds. These locally-owned projects will not only help maintain a solid nutritional status for the children, but will also ideally create income-generating opportunities for the homes, through which they can purchase necessary food and other products for the children. Possible projects include:
Soy milk production
Training in animal husbandry/ruminants rearing, poultry, backyard gardening to cultivate fruits, vegetables and keep domestic animals.
Alternative food-based income generating activities: mushroom cultivation, snail rearing, bee-keeping, bakery, soy-milk production
Craft production: knitting, beads-making, soap and powder making, etc
In addition, AmeriCares YSEF is reaching out to food producers with a local presence and CSR interests in children and nutrition to seek additional local funding and food sources for the homes. Some current prospects include Nestle, Cargill, and Unilever