Nov 6, 2020

Nutrition Training Eases Challenges from COVID-19

Peru was one of the countries hit hardest by COVID-19 early in the global pandemic. This caused the country to shut down with very little warning. Families were not able to get out and purchase groceries as they had been able to before the pandemic. As families were quarantined in their homes, the real power of CHOICE Humanitarian Peru’s nutrition program became visible. Families that had learned how to grow their own food were able to access nutritious fruits and vegetables even while the country was in lockdown. These families were able to maintain healthy diets in spite of the chaos around them. 

 

In response to the country’s shutdown, the CHOICE Humanitarian Peru team sought and received special permission from the government officials to continue going out and working with families. Team members have helped families to plant and maintain their gardens so that they would continue to have access to nutritious food throughout the duration of the pandemic. Because of the success of this program, government officials have asked the CHOICE Humanitarian Peru team to expand their program and help in other areas. The team has partnered with the government to distribute vegetable seeds to isolated families, giving them hope and the ability to provide for their own nutritional needs even though the country is closed down. 

 

We’ve always known that our nutrition program was beneficial, but the pandemic has really brought to light how critical this program is in helping families to be resilient in the face of challenges. In many communities, families that did not have this resource have been forced to break quarantine and go looking for food, potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19. In contrast, the families that we have trained have been able to stay home and stay safe. Although this program was extremely beneficial for the families that CHOICE worked with, there are thousands of families that need help. Please join us in expanding this program. 

Sep 2, 2020

Organic Banana Production Changes Lives

For years, families in Sullana, Peru barely eked out a living raising bananas and were not able to provide good, nutritious meals for their children. With our training and intervention, the families’ incomes increased, and the nutritional status of children and parents improved.

The group of farmers is called CAPPO Banana (Cooperativa Agraria de Productores Peruanos Organicos); they were producing bananas and selling them to different companies. Eventually, the group was told that if the farmers could certify their bananas as organic the farmers could double their profits. However, the certification process would cost the farmers $10,000. They couldn’t come up with the money, so came to us. Feed the World/CHOICE Humanitarian has a loan fund called CHOICE Ventures, through which we lent the farmers the money. With the assistance of CHOICE Humanitarian, the farmers’ bananas became certified, enabling the farmers’ income to be doubled. With this increased income, the cooperative repaid the loan within six months. CHOICE Humanitarian also trained the farmers on good cultivation practices, thereby increasing the farmers’ banana yields. The farmers went from being able to export one container of bananas a week to eight containers.

This increase in the quantity and quality of their production changed the lives of the individuals involved. The families benefited greatly because they had more money to buy good-quality, nutritious food. In addition, the families were able to send their children to school. Furthermore, by increasing their production, the farmers are able to hire new laborers to help harvest and package the bananas, thereby creating jobs and enabling the laborers to better feed their families.

Thank you to the donors of Feed the World/CHOICE Humanitarian that make it possible for us to support successful programs like this one that enables families to improve their standard of living.

Farmers prepare bananas for packaging
Farmers prepare bananas for packaging
Some of the farmers in the banana cooperative
Some of the farmers in the banana cooperative
Jul 13, 2020

Bio-Gardens Improve Malnutrition

According to the World Food Programme, 13.1 percent of children in Peru are chronically malnourished. In rural areas as many as one in three children are malnourished. It’s common for rural families to practice monocropping (farming only one crop). This practice, combined with a traditional diet that is mostly made up of carbohydrates, leads to nutritional deficiencies. Markets rarely offer a variety of vegetables, and families usually don’t have the funds to purchase vegetables even if there were any in the markets.  With the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting supply chains, the need for families to have their own personal food supplies and food production is even more critical.

In order to improve the nutrition of Peruvian children and fight malnutrition, Feed the World/CHOICE Humanitarian installed 500 bio-gardens in 2019, and plans to install 500 more by the end of this year. So far, nine communities and twenty schools have benefited from the program. In addition, the Feed the World/CHOICE Humanitarian team teaches local people how to clean the vegetables properly and to cook the vegetables so that they taste better. 

 
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