Launch of NMDs 1999. Children singing that vitamin A “saves sight and lives”. June 30, 1999. Photo: c. HKI
Flying into Niamey, the capital of Niger, always feels like coming home. Since starting development work in 1981 it is the country that has the most marked me and where I have traveled the most extensively. We are accompanying a columnist from The New York Times, Nick Kristof, and his annual “Win-A-Trip” participant, Erin Luhmann and their videographer, Ben Solomon during their West Africa visit. They will go on from Niamey to a leprosy hospital further to the East, and then on to Chad. The flight in is at the perfect time of day in the perfect season. The beginning of the rainy season has washed off the dust and the foliage is a brilliant green, contrasting with the red earth. The end-of-day light gives the perfect glow to the landscape. Immigration at the airport is more nervous than usual about having journalists visit – perhaps because of the heightened security concerns. However with a little explanation on several fronts the team is out of the airport and off to their first visit in Niamey.
Tags: Acute Malnutrition, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Nicholas Kristof, Nick Kristof, Niger, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition, Shawn Baker, Vitamin A, Vitamin A Supplementation, Win-A-Trip
Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness
The last time I was in Timbuktu was 15 years ago when HKI was just developing programs in Mali and we were providing technical assistance to a partner NGO working in the region to carry out a baseline survey on anemia and other nutritional problems. A colleague from HKI and I spent 10 days working with the local team preparing the survey design, finalizing and field testing questionnaires and training survey workers. The trip to Timbuktu was brutal as when we turned off the paved road in Douentza we spent 15 hours crossing usually dry scrubland that had been transformed into mud flats by a downpour. We were thrown around in the back of a double cabin pick-up truck when we were not up to our ears in mud trying to get the truck unstuck.
This time I am accompanying a columnist from The New York Times, Nick Kristof, and his annual “Win-A-Trip” participant, Erin Luhmann and their videographer, Ben Solomon.
Tags: Acute Malnutrition, Anemia, Food Fortification, Mali, malnutrition, Nicholas Kristof, Nick Kristof, Reducing Malnutrition, Scaling Up Nutrition, Shawn Baker, Timbuktu, Vitamin A, vitamin a deficiency, Vitamin A Supplementation, Win-A-Trip
Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition
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.
Tags: Breastfeeding, Burkina Faso, Complementary Feeding, Essential Nutrition Actions, Gardens, Homestead Food Production, Kathy Spahn, Mother's Day, Reducing Malnutrition, Sweetpotatoes, Vitamin A
Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition
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.
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.
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!
An interview with HKI's Senior Ophthalmologist and Eye Health Advisor.
You sometimes hear the phrase, “One plus one equals three,” and I have been struck by the power of that notion in my work with Helen Keller International through the partnerships we create with local organizations. I recently sat down with Dr. David S. Friedman, HKI’s Senior Ophthalmologist and Eye Health Advisor, to talk about his experiences in public health and his perspective on building partnerships to achieve success. Dr. Friedman most recently was awarded the prestigious Alcon Research Institute award for his contributions to ophthalmic research.
An entrepreneur’s vision to end Vitamin A Deficiency
When Wes Stoody entered Eastern Michigan University he thought he wanted to be a professor. Five years later he is educating people, but not in the way he originally planned. Along with business partner Jay Parkin and his sister, Maggie Stoody, Wes created Aframes, a socially conscious line of unisex eyewear. The company sells fashionable sunglasses with the dual goal of raising awareness about vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and helping to fund programs that prevent it.
Aframes is partnering with Helen Keller International and will donate 5% of all revenue to help HKI’s vitamin A supplementation programs around the world.
Next week, Aframes is going one step further: the company will donate 50% of its revenue to HKI in celebration of the start of summer. We encourage you to visit their website between May 28th and June 2nd to take advantage of this generous offer!
This post was written by Victoria Quinn, HKI’s Senior Vice President of Programs. It is part of a series of blogs on The Huffington Post by leading NGOs to call attention to a range of issues that should be raised at the G8 summit at Camp David in rural Maryland from May 18-19.
There is a time in a child’s life that has a profound impact on her ability to grow, learn and rise out of poverty. It’s the 1,000 day window beginning with a mother’s pregnancy through to her child’s 2nd birthday. During this critical 1,000 days, ensuring that mothers and children have proper nutrition can have a profound impact not only on the individual but also on the long-term health, stability, and development of entire communities and nations.
Tags: Biofortification, Breastfeeding, Burkina Faso, Complementary Feeding, Essential Nutrition Actions, Gardens, Maternal Nutrition, Sweetpotatoes, Victoria Quinn, Vitamin A
Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition
The famous social activist talks about the importance of vitamin A
Shopping at my local supermarket this morning, imagine my surprise when I spotted Helen Keller! I debated whether I should bother her – because most celebrities like to be left alone – but decided I had to go up and introduce myself. Not only is my organization, Helen Keller International (HKI), named after her, but she is also a personal hero of mine.
I caught up with her in the vegetable aisle and asked her why she was shopping so early on a Sunday morning. She was beyond gracious, encouraging me to call her Helen instead of Ms. Keller. “I am making a sweetpotato pie for dessert tonight,” she explained, “I’ve invited some friends over for dinner to introduce them to the great work that HKI is doing, and wanted to show them how delicious vitamin A can be.”