During the first half of 2022, Healing Venezuela has continued running the food programme in Guaraunos, feeding an average of 100 children every day, Monday to Friday. We have been working there since 2019. During the first 6 months, 3 children moved elsewhere. The programme continues to be run entirely by volunteers both in the UK and on the ground and is under the umbrella of Cáritas de Venezuela with whom we share statistics on malnutrition as they have been monitoring the situation at a national level over the past years. During the first 6 months of 2022, we continued providing cooked breakfast, lunch, and a snack striving to offer a balanced diet including Venezuelan staples like Empanadas, Arepas and "bollitos" despite the challenges posed by the scarcity of petrol and food in general. This report includes a summary of anthropometric measures, disbursements, and the number of meals offered.
2. Anthropometric Measurements
Healing Venezuela Food Programme follows the World Health Organisation criteria on malnutrition, which requires measuring height, weight, arm circumference, and skinfold thickness. Taking into consideration sex and age, the values are included in the Pediatric Z-Score calculator to assess in which risk category the child is. There are 4 main categories, being the riskiest CLASS 1 – Red (severe malnutrition) and the least risky CLASS 4 – Blue (out of danger). For the Guaraunos food programme, measurements are taken every 3 months to monitor progress. This report shows April 2022 measurements.
When analyzing the data, it´s important to consider that the rate of severely malnourished children in our programme (4.12%) is still lower than the national average of 26.1%. Also, a key factor to take into account is that the children who fall in this category are 4 homeless siblings of a single mother living all in the public square. They are 8, 11, 13, and 15 years old, and they all suffer from chronic malnutrition. In the past, we were able to provide enough food to keep the youngest ones in less risky categories, but as the children are growing, the food provided during the week is not enough. Jointly with Cáritas and our volunteers, we are considering options to support this family in other ways, for example, feeding the children also during the weekend. The rest of our beneficiaries are all stable or improving, reassuring us that the programme is working apart from exceptional circumstances like the ones described before.
TABLE 1 - ANTHROPOMETRIC MEASURES APR' 22
Based on Development Growth Classification W.H.O
Class 1 RED Severely malnourished 4.12%
Class 2 AMBER Middle malnourished 7.21%
Class 3 YELLOW Moderately malnourished 25.77%
Class 4 GREEN Vulnerable 40.20%
Class 5 BLUE Out of danger 22.68%
3. Funds disbursement
In 2022, hyperinflation seems to be under control, but it’s still around 2 digits. The poverty rate continues to be more than 90% which is not surprising considering that the current basic goods basket is $365 per month, whilst the minimum salary is between $30 - $50 per month. To keep the budget under strict control, we continue requesting weekly invoices and menus (see examples in Annex 1).
Apart from the 4 siblings who live in extraordinary circumstances, the programme is proving to be able to keep malnutrition under control in this very impoverished area of rural Venezuela. We are hoping to alleviate the conditions of the 4 children at risk with the support of the community. There is a long waiting list of children that we would like to be included in the programme, but as the situation worldwide deteriorates because of inflation and the Ukraine crisis, raising funds has become much harder. Our donors' support has made it possible for 97 children to keep at bay the spectrum of malnutrition devastating Venezuela.
Our next report will be in December 2022.
EXAMPLE OF WEEKLY MENU DATE: 16/5 TO 20/5/2022
(AREPAS) CORNBREAD WITH SCRAMBLED EGGS AND SAUSAGES
AREPA WITH CHEESE
(BOLLITOS) HAM AND CHEESE TAMALES
AREPA WITH HAM CHEESE
AREPAS WITH SCRAMBLED EGGS AND SAUSAGES
RICE, SHREDDED BEEF AND PLANTAIN
PASTA WITH MEATBALLS
RICE, BLACK BEANS, BEEF AND FRIED PLANTAIN
RICE, CHICKEN CASSEROLE AND PLANTAIN
SPAGHETTI WITH CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES