Village Health Works (VHW), located in Kigutu, Burundi, offers community, clinical, and school-based programs with an impact on more than 200,000 community members in the last year. To relieve Burundi of the title, "Hungriest Country in the World," according to the 2014 Global Hunger Index, VHW addresses sustainable agriculture and livestock care through supporting on-site and household gardens. Increased harvests provide local families, patients, and school children with nutritious meals.
In rural southwestern Burundi, we see children everyday who cannot focus at school because they are hungry and in-patients who cannot heal from illnesses because they are under-nourished. In addition to the physical pain of hunger, we also see the impact of malnutrition on cognitive development and the suffering experienced by mothers who are unable to provide for their children's most basic needs. Recent war has only exacerbated these problems.
VHW provides about 23,000 outpatient consultations annually, hospitalizes 40-60 patients daily, and impacts thousands more through community outreach and education. With a holistic model that includes food security, education, and clinical programming, VHW is well positioned to intervene on the issue of hunger. This campaign will help fund training, crop diversification, and livestock care to encourage increased subsistence farming among local families, better patient care, and school nutrition.
Our comprehensive approach towards tackling food shortages among our local families, patients and students encompasses key actions to ensure long-term impact. Emphasizing health and well-being, our food security program allows families to provide nutritious food for their households, allows patients to heal faster and return home sooner, and minimizes distractions for students as they gain a quality education.