Posts in Category: “Reducing Malnutrition”

At Helen Keller International we dedicate ourselves to reducing malnutrition by providing low-cost vitamin and mineral supplements to millions of the most hard-to-reach, deeply vulnerable people around the world, and by encouraging people and communities to make simple and inexpensive changes to their food production and consumption that collectively result in saving the sight and lives of millions of people worldwide.

Fight Malnutrition by Empowering Mothers Around the World

This posted was originally written for the Huffington Post by HKI President and CEO Kathy Spahn. View original post.

Mother’s Day is a time to come together as families and friends to celebrate some of our greatest nurturers, teachers and providers. It’s not easy being a mother under any circumstance, but I am particularly inspired by, and mindful of, the mothers we serve in countries where malnutrition and food insecurity still persist.

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

Salamata’s Story: How One Mother Makes a Difference

Salamata is a community leader, farmer, mother, and grandmother.

In her village in Burkina Faso in western Africa, Ouoba Salamata is a Grandmother—with a capital “G.”  Not only does she care for her immediate family, but also for her entire village.  And, like many grandmothers – with a small “g”, she has lived a life filled with hard work, sacrifice, and boundless love for her family.

Wherever I travel, the faces of everyday heroes become imprinted in my memory. I recently returned from a visit to Helen Keller International’s programs in Burkina Faso where I met Salamata, a hard-working, brave member of her village.  When I saw how she has utilized HKI’s programs to transform life for her entire community, I knew I had to share her inspiring story with you.

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

One Mother Helping Many

Homestead Food Production in Nepal

Photo: c. HKI/George Figdor

Parvati was born into a small family in Far Western Nepal. Since her family could not afford school fees, she has no formal education.  She has a small piece of land, but it is not sufficient to provide food year-round for Parvati’s family, which includes her small son and daughter.

Motivated by the need to care for her family, Parvati joined HKI’s Homestead Food Production  program, where she received training in  homestead farming.  After learning about how to cultivate nutrient-dense vegetables and raise chickens for egg production on a Village Model Farm, she received five chickens and seasonal vegetable seeds, along with the skills she needed to manage them. Before long, Parvati was able to multiply her five chickens to 16 and now feeds her family with healthy vegetables from her own garden and protein-rich eggs laid by her chickens.

With her family healthy and thriving, Parvati wants to give her children a chance to have the formal education she did not.  To do so, she is selling her vegetables, eggs and hatched chicks to raise enough money to send them to school.  “I will continue to raise more poultry and vegetables by renting additional land from big landholders,” she says. “I have a plan to send my children to a better school with my earnings.”

Beyond allowing her own family to benefit from her new skills, Parvati is helping other mothers in her community reach their full potential.  She began teaching farming skills at her village’s infant and young child feeding group “I tell my friends and neighbors about the importance of eggs and vegetables for their children and for women when they are pregnant and breastfeeding.”

As we approach Mother’s Day, HKI will be celebrating mothers around the world.  Mother’s like Parvati, who are a testament to courageous women everywhere and a reminder of how, with the right skills and tools, one mother can help many.

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Categories Asia-Pacific, Reducing Malnutrition

Mothers of Pout: Making a Difference in the Fight against Malnutrition

Amy Diallo is from the small village of Pout, which lies about 30 miles east of Dakar, Senegal’s ocean-side capital.  The commercial farms in this region produce watermelon, coconut, grapefruit and mango – a colorful bounty that is out of reach for the average family in Senegal, where more than half the population lives in poverty.  Instead, families commit scarce resources to staples like rice that fill empty bellies but lack essential micronutrients that protect the immune system and help children grow. more…

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

Rashida Begum: A New Entrepreneur

Rashida in her garden

Rashida in her garden

Rashida and her husband live with their two sons in Howalvangi, a village in southern Bangladesh. With her husband’s meager income, Rashida says “I could not feed our family. Sometimes we ate only once a day. We used to own a few goats and sheep, but had to sell them to buy food.”

To supplement their diet, Rashida tried to cultivate vegetables in their home garden using the traditional approach: simply scattering seeds on the ground without preparing raised beds, protecting seedlings or adding compost to the soil. Her harvest was limited to a few vegetables in the winter (peak growing season). The region’s poor soil made growing vegetables difficult for Rashida, as it did for other women in the village.

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Categories Asia-Pacific, Reducing Malnutrition

High School Students Raise Funds and Awareness about HKI!

Nicole and Faith are in twelfth grade at Westmount Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Canada. They are both 17 years old and enrolled in a World Issues course this year. The course taught them about political, environmental, economical, and social issues present in the world today. As a final assignment, they were tasked to make a difference and spread awareness about an important cause. They chose Helen Keller International’s Vitamin A Supplementation program. Inspired by their dedication, I wanted to hear Nicole and Faith’s story about their journey to becoming advocates for HKI. So, I reached out with a few questions. more…

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Categories Reducing Malnutrition, United States

Cape Verde: Leading the Way to Good Nutrition in West Africa

What’s the protocol for visiting a former head of state? In Cape Verde, our delegation walked up to his door, knocked, and President Monteiro himself greeted us. This typifies the graciousness and modesty that he has shown in all of our interactions.

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

Eyes on Nutrition

girls eating carrots

Today is World Sight Day which is celebrated every year on the second Thursday in October to raise awareness about avoidable blindness and visual impairment.

I’ve worn glasses since I was a young student, so I’m pretty familiar with visual impairment. In fact, I couldn’t really function at all without my glasses (or contacts) -– I couldn’t drive, work on the computer, cook, manage my way through my apartment, etc.

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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition

10 Years On: Food Fortification in West Africa

By Shawn Baker, HKI’s Vice President and Regional Director for Africa.

Two weeks ago, I arrived in Abidjan from Dakar in early evening. Passport control, retrieving luggage and getting out of the airport took only minutes. Hassle-free. In the past there would have been aggravations at each stage. This set the tone for most of my visit – after 10 years of political crisis and a contested election that resulted in weeks of warfare – Abidjan is back!  more…

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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition

Becoming “Mr. Helen Keller”

Shawn Baker describes being interviewed for "Francophone Africa's CNN" about HKI’s West Africa-wide food fortification initiative.
africable_tv

By Shawn Baker, HKI’s Vice President and Regional Director for Africa.

“Bonjour Monsieur Helen Keller” (“Good morning Mister Helen Keller”) greeted me this week on my morning run on the beach in Dakar. Several text messages and e-mails from friends and colleagues saying they had seen me on television came in later that day. I then realized that Africable was at it again – spreading the word about HKI’s work across French-speaking Africa.

HKI’s relationship with Africable started in 2010. This television station based in Bamako, Mali is positioning itself as the CNN equivalent of Francophone Africa. As part of their celebration of 50 years of independence of many countries in Africa, they organized a regional media tour to celebrate African integration and HKI’s West Africa-wide food fortification initiative was highlighted. Through that partnership, millions of households were informed about the benefits of essential vitamins and minerals being added to cooking oil and wheat flour, through interviews and engaging commercials like this one.

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition