Doug reflects on how HKI is preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition for the most vulnerable in West Africa.
Today, we drove the 150 miles from Fada N’Gourma to Ouagadougou – the last leg before flying out tomorrow morning. On arriving in Ouagadougou, Nicholas Kristof and the “Win-a-Trip” winners visited a center for supporting people living with HIV. Over the course of the past week, Shawn Baker and I have accompanied Nick through four countries – Mauritania, Senegal, Niger and Burkina Faso. We’ve been in numerous villages, and we’ve spoken in depth with many people – mostly women – about the challenges of their lives and the solutions to help improve their lot.
In pursuit of HKI’s mission to prevent blindness and reduce undernutrition, we focus on two major program areas in Africa – fighting malnutrition (particularly micronutrient deficiency), and controlling certain tropical diseases, such as trachoma and onchocerciasis. During this past week, we have seen some successful programs in each of these areas. During these days, I’ve been reflecting on HKI’s approach to reducing malnutrition.
Tags: Acute Malnutrition, Biofortification, Breastfeeding, Burkina Faso, Douglas Steinberg, Essential Nutrition Actions, Food Fortification, Gardens, Homestead Food Production, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Nicholas Kristof, Niger, Onchocerciasis, Sweetpotatoes, Trachoma, Vitamin A
Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition
Doug Steinberg visits a village where HKI's Homestead Food Production is helping mothers raise healthier children
Doug Steinberg’s second post as his travels with NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof to Burkina Faso.
Today we drove west from Niamey, the capital of Niger, into eastern Burkina Faso. The evening before, there was a torrential rain, and the desert is blooming. We drove into a somewhat moister climate, and the thorn trees gave way to large broad-leaf trees, including the Shea butternut tree, which is the source of the Shea butter found in many cosmetics.
At the town of Fada N’Gourma in eastern Burkina, we turned onto a track heading off into the bush, which we followed to the village of Zona-Tenga, a site of our Homestead Food Production program. We work with groups of women, particularly those of child bearing age, to diversify their diets by growing vitamin-rich vegetables and tending to small livestock, such as chickens and goats. These foods are excellent sources of vitamin A, iron, protein and fats – all of which are lacking in the diets of women and children in this region.
An interview with HKI's Senior Vice President of Programs
Have you ever heard the saying, “You are what you eat?” In working for Helen Keller International, I’ve come to realize that this simple adage can mean different things to different people. In America, we often say it when we’re talking about losing weight. In developing countries, this simple phrase becomes a powerful reminder of the life and death impact nutrition can have on the lives of millions of people, especially young children. No one understands the importance of nutrition better than Dr. Victoria Quinn, HKI’s Senior Vice President of Programs. I met with Victoria recently to learn more about her background in nutrition and her views on the importance of nutrition on world health.
Tags: Bangladesh, Behavior Change, Essential Nutrition Actions, Food Security, Gardens, Homestead Food Production, Maternal Nutrition, Victoria Quinn
Categories Africa, Asia-Pacific, Helen Keller, Reducing Malnutrition, Staff Profiles
In just a few days we officially celebrate Mother’s Day. At Helen Keller International, we celebrate mothers all year round since they are crucial to the success of our program that prevent blindness and reduce malnutrition.
One constant I have observed while traveling to HKI’s programs around the world is the love that mothers have for their children and their willingness to try new things to ensure their health and happiness.
An interview with HKI's Vice President and Regional Director for Asia-Pacific
Have you ever met anyone who has visited and worked in over 50 countries and lived in Zaïre, Niger, Cambodia, Vietnam, The Philippines, Cameroon, Senegal and the U.S.? We have, and it’s our Vice President and Regional Director for Asia-Pacific, Nancy J. Haselow. I recently asked Nancy to tell us about her career in public health, and found someone who is not only an inveterate traveler, but also a tireless crusader for improving the lives of as many vulnerable people as possible.
Tags: Cambodia, Cameroon, Gardens, Homestead Food Production, Nancy Haselow, Niger, Onchocerciasis, Philippines, Senegal, Surveillance, Vietnam, Vitamin A
Categories Africa, Asia-Pacific, Helen Keller, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition, Staff Profiles, United States
Understanding the food crisis’ effect on nutrition
This post was written by HKI’s Vice President and Regional Director for Africa, Shawn Baker.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recently announced that food prices have hit a record high. This new surge in food prices has garnered considerable media attention. From articles in the Guardian to The New York Times, people are discussing the reasons for this increase and the effect it will have on the world’s population. Many even think high food prices have sparked the recent wave of political upheaval across North Africa. However, very little attention has been paid to the far more devastating and pernicious impact that the increase in food prices is having on the general public.
Celebrating National Carrot Cake Day
You got to give it to Americans; we really like a reason to celebrate. Believe it or not, February 3rd is National Carrot Cake Day! On this day, we celebrate the moist, spicy, sometimes nutty, and usually-covered-in-cream-cheese-frosting, cake that has been pleasing palates for decades. Food historians believe that carrot cake was first developed during the Middle Ages when sugars were expensive luxuries and people used the natural sugar content of carrots to sweeten desserts (this is according to foodtimeline.org). In celebration of National Carrot Cake Day, I’d like to take a moment to pay special homage to carrot cake’s main ingredient, the carrot!
An HKI expert speaks about food security and nutrition
“Bridging the Divide: Water Scarcity, Food Security and Health” and “What are the Major Problems in Terms of Food and Nutrition Confronting Humanity, and What Solutions Would Best Address These Problems?” These hefty questions were posed to Victoria Quinn, HKI’s Senior Vice President of Programs, at McGill’s Third Conference on Global Food Security in October.
Homestead Food Production in Bangladesh
Working for an organization with programs that reduce malnutrition (and prevent blindness), as Helen Keller International’s do, has some tasty benefits.
I am traveling with a film crew from Digital Development Communications to create videos of Helen Keller International’s programs in Bangladesh. Our journey has taken us to the southern area of Barisal division, in the sub-district of Barguna. We are working with local partners to implement our Homestead Food Production programs and to establish or re-establish livelihoods destroyed during Cyclone Sidr in 2007.