We are grateful to Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) for donating a 40-foot container of Manna Pack rice to be used in a three-year nutrition research project in 4 communities. The container of fortified rice has been delivered to the 4 Communities. Over 1000 school children in four schools in four villages will partake in a research project being conducted by Metrix Research Group to determine the impact of the nutrition program on the children, their parents and the entire communities. Once again, we thank FMSC for their partnership with us.
FAME and GCM partners hosted a research team in September and October visiting four communities in the Volta and Northern Volta regions to collect information about community health practices, basic sanitation and quality of life in preparation for the yearlong feeding program to provide balanced nutritional lunches to nearly 1500 students, teachers and staff. More than 1300 students and 500 community members in these four isolated villages participated in the first part of a yearlong research project designed to measure the impact that the food program has on personal health, community health and education.
Team members measured the height and weight of all children to track the nutritional impact of the food. Group discussions about what children eat, water source, sanitary practices and health education helped provide a background on the communities and help local and national leaders necessary information to create strategies to ensure that the food program has maximum impact. Many of the children eat an imbalanced diet primarily consisting of starches and so while one in five are underweight or at risk of being underweight, many more children with healthy body weights are malnourished. Many children do have access to clean water via borehole pumps, many students living on the outskirts of the villages do not. The majority of students do not practice safe hand washing, proper malaria prevention and have limited access to healthcare as hospitals are often nearly 50 kilometers away from these communities.
Parents completed a community health and quality of life survey to provide a broader background on the community and to provide a point of comparison to gauge the impact that the feeding program has on the communities beyond just the nutritional benefit. Secondary school students were trained to conduct interviews and gathered feedback from nearly 250 community members about how the community has been growing and changing. All of the communities provided volunteer cooking staff who underwent basic health screenings and participated in workshops to ensure proper food preparation for maximum nutritional value, emphasize basic sanitation and health practices to protect children's health and explore creative ways to enhance the food. The team will return two more times throughout the school year to monitor the same factors and measure the change and impact of this exciting collaborative effort.