Few of us can comprehend the despair and helplessness felt by millions of mothers when they lock eyes with their hungry child and know they have no food to offer them. This is so often the case in Madagascar where 48% of children are chronically malnourished. This project will enable the Liahona Children's Foundation to expand from countries like the Philippines (see video) to provide nutritional supplements to over 100 malnourished children in Madagascar through local program coordinators.
Madagascar has one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the world. Liahona recently screened 141 local children; nearly half were chronically undernourished (48%), 6% were acutely undernourished, and 22% were at risk of becoming so. The consequences of this include greater risk of disease, stunted growth, lower cognitive ability, and even premature death. To combat this, Liahona will provide children with the nutritional supplements they need to catch up and lead healthy, productive lives.
The first 1,000 days of a child's life are crucial, and impact their lifelong growth potential. With a fully funded project, Liahona will be able to provide over 100 undernourished children with a high calorie peanut based supplement. Each package contains the calories needed to promote growth as well as micronutrients that improve appetite and reduce the risk of diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. After distribution, these supplements can be given at home which increases completion rates.
Improved nutritional status in children is linked to greater educational attainment and better employment as an adult. By working alongside communities and collaborating with the local health system to distribute supplements and lead discussions on health and hygiene lessons, we cultivate locally led solutions, empower families to increase control over their lives, and promote communities to come together to improve their local health environment.