An interview with HKI's Senior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health
I often wonder how people actually get to live their dreams. I sat down recently with Jennifer Nielsen, Senior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health for Helen Keller International, and discovered someone who has actually done just that. Here is Jennifer’s story:
Tags: Acute Malnutrition, Breastfeeding, Burkina Faso, Complementary Feeding, Essential Nutrition Actions, Food Security, Homestead Food Production, Jennifer Nielsen, Maternal Nutrition, Nepal, Niger, Sweetpotatoes, Tanzania
Categories Africa, Helen Keller, Reducing Malnutrition, Staff Profiles
Hanukkah has begun and Christmas is just days away. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift, look no further! This holiday season, make a donation to Helen Keller International in honor of someone special to help save the sight and lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Whatever amount you give – $1,000 to provide 1,000 children with life-saving vitamin A, $250 to restore the vision of five people through cataract surgery, or $25 to give one American child the glasses she needs – your gift will make a significant improvement in someone’s life. You can’t say the same for fruitcake!
Don’t just take my word for it: Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times columnist, Nick Kristof included HKI in his annual gift guide noting: “HKI gets more bang for the buck than almost any group I can think of.”
Our success is due to the loyal commitment of friends and supporters like you. During this season of giving as we look forward to a new year, please consider making a difference with a donation to Helen Keller International.
On behalf of the HKI team working around the globe – and those whose lives are touched because of your generosity – we wish you happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year.
A drawing from a child in Cambodia who benefited from our Homestead Food Production program. The ornament at top was drawn by a student in NYC who received free eyeglasses through our ChildSight® program.
Sweetpotato pie. Sweetpotato casserole with marshmallows. Sweetpotato fries. It seems like this time of year, these starchy, sweet-tasting root vegetables are all the rage. But, did you know that sweetpotatoes are more than just a Thanksgiving staple? In parts of Africa, orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes help save sight and lives.
How One Community Prevents Malnutrition by Monitoring the Growth of its Children.
Post by Douglas Steinberg, HKI’s Deputy Regional Director for West Africa.
In a recent visit to HKI’s work in Tsogal, Niger, replies to my queries about the harvest were not encouraging at all.
“Most families here have only harvested enough to feed their families for two months,” replied one farmer in the community. This year is shaping up to be much less bountiful than last year – but still better than the disastrous harvest of 2009. This is a time when young children are at risk of malnutrition.
A week of awareness for vision and nutrition.
What do Sight and Food have to do with one another? Well, for one thing, both have official celebrations this week! Today, October 13th, is World Sight Day, and Sunday, October 16th is World Food Day.
Your ability to see is greatly affected by the nutrients you eat. In fact, Helen Keller International collaborated on the groundbreaking research in the 1970s that first identified that a lack of vitamin A can not only cause blindness, but can also compromise the immune system, which, in turn, increases the risk of death from diseases such as malaria, measles and diarrhea.
Thousands of children require treatment for severe malnutrition.
A post by Issakha Diop, who is responding to the crisis in the Horn of Africa on behalf of Helen Keller International.
I am currently stationed in northeastern Kenya (260 miles northeast of Nairobi and 46 miles west of Somalia) at Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world. It was designed to provide temporary shelter for the 90,000 people fleeing from Somalia’s civil war in early 1990. As the war, drought, and insecurity continued in Somalia, the three camps in Dadaab – Ifo, Hagadera and Dagahaley – became home for over 450,000 people.
Today, 1,000 to 1,500 new people arrive each day because of the current drought and food crisis in East Africa.
Little Abdulay Sahal Mohamed from Somalia arrived with his family five days ago. His entire family – his parents and six other siblings – walked for 21 days before reaching a reception point at the Kenya/Somalia border to be transported to Dadaab by UNHCR.
This post was written by Kathy Spahn, Helen Keller International’s President & CEO and also appeared on the 1,000 Days Blog.
I participated in a panel yesterday hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that focused on the role of women in promoting transformative agricultural development and food security. As Secretary Clinton noted, if women farmers were given equal resources – land, seeds, water, credit and access to markets – they could grow enough to feed another 150 million people each year! With this compelling fact in hand, the discussion got off to a lively start, and ranged from talk about men and tractors to talk about vitamins and land rights.
This post was written by Issakha Diop, Helen Keller International’s West Africa coordinator for community-based management of acute malnutrition. In response to the crisis in East Africa, he has been seconded to UNICEF’s regional nutrition team.
The response to the crisis in the Horn of Africa has many dimensions. One of the responsibilities that my colleagues and I have is to ensure that the programs are implemented according to globally accepted standards.
Children in crisis, who have been deprived of adequate nutritious foods, are not only at risk of disease, but enter into a state of wasting as their bodies rapidly lose weight. Children who are severely wasted are 9 to 10 times more likely to die: they often lose their appetites, their bellies swell, and they are prone to a range of infections and micronutrient deficiencies. To help these children, we must screen them as soon as possible for malnutrition – and this screening must be done properly.
This is the second post by Jessica Blankenship, Ph.D., Helen Keller International’s Regional Micronutrient Advisor, as she chronicles HKI’s ongoing work in Kenya.
In the US, access to basic health care is seldom a concern in our daily lives. While equity of health care is under debate, there is no disagreement that children in the US do not often die from diarrhea, measles, malaria and pneumonia. In sub-Saharan Africa, however, these diseases cause 50% of under five child deaths or 4.5 deaths every minute of every day.
HKI helps implement a program providing daily food rations to those in need
This post was written by Jessica Blankenship, Ph.D., Helen Keller International’s Regional Micronutrient Advisor.
It is only a two-hour flight to Lodwar in the Turkana District of Kenya from Nairobi; however the differences between the two cities are striking. Lodwar is the capital of the arid district of Turkana, and the only reliable method to reach the town is by air as the roads leading from Nairobi have been battered by seasonal rains and years of neglect. Despite being the largest district in Kenya, Turkana is sparsely populated; bordered by the countries of Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia, it is mostly populated by pastoralists who graze their goats and camels on the sandy soil.