Thank you to our generous donors who are helping the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) improve nutrition for women and children by providing the essential nutrients they need to lead healthy lives.
GAIN is currently working alongside the Government of Kenya and its partners, including Feed the Children and Phillips Healthcare, to embark on a country-wide effort to improve nutrition for 1.5 million Kenyan children between the ages of 6 months to two years. Kenya sits in the midst of one of the most food insecure regions in the world. 2.4 million Kenyans are food insecure, meaning they are less likely to eat a diverse diet filled with the nutrients needed to lead healthy, productive lives. Micronutrient deficiencies are particularly prevalent among pregnant women and young children. According to the latest micronutrient survey (1999), Kenyan children under five have alarmingly high rates of Vitamin A deficiency (84%) and Anaemia (69%), leading to higher rates of blindness, illness and even death from common childhood infections such as diarrhea and measles. In Kenya, 35% of children are stunted (low height for age), a primary manifestation of malnutrition in childhood that is, in turn, irreversible and untreatable.
Good nutrition is essential for children, specifically during the 1,000 days from a woman’s pregnancy to a child’s second birthday, putting children on the right for good physical and mental growth. Good nutrition in the 1,000 day window impacts a child’s long-term well-being, helping them not only be healthier, but also smarter and more productive, which in turn impacts families, communities and whole economies. In support of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, GAIN is targeting children over 6 months to ensure they have access to nutritious complementary foods.
Through this project, GAIN is working with the Government of Kenya to support a national program to improve the micro-nutrient status of children across the country by delivering home nutrition packets, providing the vitamins and minerals children need for good health and development. Home nutrition packets are small packets filled with a mixture of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, Iron and Zinc. By simply sprinkling the contents of the packet onto a child’s meal two to three times a week, a mother in Kenya can fortify her child with the essential nutrients she needs to have a strong immune system, good brain growth and, ultimately to reach her full potential.
Several businesses have already stepped up. Global nutrition companies DSM and Herbalife have made a joint contribution of 20 million home nutrition “MixMe” packets. But in order to achieve impact, we need to support the education of mothers and families on importance and proper use of home nutrition packets.
That is where you come in. Each contribution to the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and its Future Fortified campaign is directed to training and capacity building among community health workers to ensure proper education of families on the importance of good nutrition and the proper use of home nutrition packets.
This is a critical step, for as we build awareness and education, we will also be building demand. Local suppliers are already working to get home nutrition packets on the market so mothers can access them every day at a price they can afford, leading to a long-term, sustainable impact.
As we continue to fund-raise, the project will begin to be implemented in June 2012 with the trainings of community health workers. We will share stories and photos throughout the summer as the project progresses. For more information, visit www.FutureFortified.org. Thank you for your ongoing support!