Delays and Challenges in Getting Micronutrients out to 2800 Children
By Laura Failla Manship | Executive Director
Mother and 3 children January 2019
The MANI 5 Extension grant started on September 1, 2018. It was designed as a 12 month project, with an ending date of August 30, 2019.
Starting at the beginning of September, Shoulder to Shoulder worked with the Mathile Institute to place an order of Chispuditos with Alimentos (the company in Guatemala that produces the product). The order was meant to provide enough Chispuditos for the October 2018 and January 2019 distributions. Unfortunately, due to a problem with the testing of the product, the delivery of the product was delayed for two months. This meant that there was NO DISTRIBUTION of Chispuditos in October 2018, as should have happened.
Once the testing problem was resolved, a new problem arose – due to changes in the Honduran government, Alimentos was not allowed to transport the product into Honduras. The problem was finally resolved in January 2019, with Alimentos contracting with another company to bring the product into Honduras. The Chispuditos arrived at StS’s clinic the 3rd week of January. Our staff worked hard, and by the first week of Feb, all families received their 3 bags of Chispuditos.
We were succesfully able to get the micronutrient product delivered to the 2800 children due to the collaboration between our 2 MANI project staff and 23 Community Health Workers. This project is truly a "community effort."
"Enermila has four children, three of which are receiving the nutritional supplement Chispuditos. She lives in a very small village and she is very poor. Her husband is very strict with her. He won't let her have visitors in the house. He won't allow her to go anywhere. He is, as we say here, very machista.
Enermila has to walk over an hour with her four children to have them weighed, measured, and receive the nutritional supplement. She has to figure out a way to do it that won't cause her husband to get angry and not allow her to go. We had to figure out a way to get to see her in her home. We managed to find out when her husband was not there and visited her. She was so pleased to see us and offered us hospitality in her humble home. She was very grateful for the program and told us that her three children in the program are having less health issues since getting the supplement. She has a great deal of difficultly buying milk for her children so the Chispuditos is a godsend. Her husband will not give her much money as he has other families to take care of."
Every 3 months, the Shoulder to Shoulder staff go out into 15 different communities to ensure that vulnerable babies and small children receive the micronutrient supplement called Chispuditos. Children who are lacking in necessary micronutrients suffer from poor brain development, anemia, stunting and under-nutrition. The children live in mountainous areas and it is extremely difficutl to get to those areas.
Want to get a feel for what it means to "Climb Mountains to Feed Children"? Watch this great video, produced for Shoulder to Shoulder by Mallory Brown.
It has been a very exciting 3 months. We just learned that the Mathile Institute will provide Shoulder to Shoulder with a grant of $50,000. This is a matching grant.....we need to raise $50,000 so that the program will be funded for an entire year. We started the new project year on September 1, 2018. With luck -- and lots of supporters -- we can keep the program going until August 30, 2019.
Along with distributing the Chispuditos micronutrient product, we are now also providing nutritional education to the mothers and fathers in our program. Thanks to the generosity of Jessica Minesinger, one of the members of Shoulder to Shoulder's Board of Directors, Community Health workers now have a nutrition curriculum to use. We are hopeful that this education will also help to improve the health of the children in our program. Families lack information about good nutrition, and many children fill up on sugary drinks and salty snacks.
Mallory Brown recently made a video in which she featured our program director, Gisela Ramos. In the video, you see Gisela using the educational curriculum while making a presentation to the families. If you'd like to feel like you're hiking along the mountains of Honduras, providing the micronutrient supplement to families, watch this video!
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