Reducing Malnutrition

Vitamin A strengthens eyesight, boosts the immune system and is vital to the healthy development of children. For nearly 40 years, Helen Keller International (HKI) has been saving the sight and lives of the world’s most vulnerable by providing vitamin A interventions in the developing world, where children are at a greater risk for dying from common childhood illnesses due to a lack of vitamin A in their diets.

OFSP_2013_1Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato 

Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are jam packed with sight saving vitamin A. HKI nutrition programs promote the growth and consumption of vitamin A rich foods, including the sweet potato, and families prepare them in lots of creative ways.

Vitamin A Fast Fact

Vitamin A is found naturally in:

  • Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, like carrots, pumpkin, mango or orange-fleshed sweet potato
  • Dark green leafy vegetables, like spinach or kale
  • Animal products, like liver and eggs

HFP_2013Homestead Food Production: Planting the Seeds of Good Nutrition

HKI’s Homestead Food Production program teaches women to cultivate home gardens that are filled with nutrient-rich vegetables, including the orange-fleshed sweet potato. Since the program began, Homestead Food Production gardens have provided more than one million households in 5 Asian countries with thriving gardens. The current model is being tested and adapted to meet local needs and conditions in several African countries.

HKI Homestead Food Production programs empowering women in Bangladesh.


Vitamin A Fast Fact

Vitamin A deficiency occurs when the dietary intake of vitamin A is less than the body needs or if the body cannot absorb vitamin A properly due to disease or infection.

Vitamin A Supplementation: Two Tiny Capsules that Save Sight and Life


Through the Vitamin A Supplementation program, HKI distributes vitamin A capsules to children in need during Child Sight Days. These and other communitywide events provide a package of high-impact treatments to help children develop healthy bodies and minds.

See HKI’s vitamin A supplementation programs in action.

Vitamin A Fast Fact

Two high dose vitamin A supplements can reduce childhood mortality and costs only $1 per child each year.

Learn more about other ways that HKI provides vitamin A to those in need around the globe.

Meet Our Experts 

HKI’s program experts are leaders in the fight against vitamin A deficiency. Get to know a few of them.

Kathy Spahn, President and CEO of Helen Keller International, is a tireless advocate for keeping nutrition at the top of the political and development agenda.  She recently served as the panel moderator for an international meeting calling for continued investment in Scaling Up Nutrition.

Victoria Quinn, HKI’s Senior Vice President of Programs, is a powerful force in the field of nutrition.  Published in a variety of prominent nutrition resources, she recently contributed a chapter on Best Practices in Nutrition to the groundbreaking new book The Road to Good Nutrition.

Jennifer Nielsen, HKI’s Senior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health, was recently interviewed about the effectiveness of Homestead Food Production on Australian radio network, The Daily.

Rolf Klemm, HKI's Vice President of Nutrition, shared Helen Keller International's innovative use of mobile technology to reach even more children with vitamin A supplementation at the 2014 Micronutrient Forum in Ethiopia.