“While analyzing growth and nutritional data we discovered a worrying tendency: after children under five gained weight, they returned back to a previous weight” remembers Sheila Maldonado, ChildFund ECD Specialist. “We needed to do something different to change this tendency.” Approximately 8 to 10% of evaluated children under five during in January had 1st and 2nd malnutrition levels.
ChildFund Local Partners in each geographical region contacted organizations specialized in nutrition, university professionals and hospital staff to teach mothers about nutrition and the best way to cook for children under five. Everyone agreed this was the easiest and fastest way to reach a simple objective but essential to change the odds.
In Cochabamba, the Albina Patiño Foundation trained every Local Partner in a series of workshops. “Thirty three mothers from Un Nuevo Caminar project attended and were very enthusiastic about learning new recipes” tells Dra. Pamela Lopez from the Project. “After that, we performed a demonstration where they cooked and baked everything they learned. The entire community had the chance to taste the food and get a free copy of the recipes to take home.” Everyone found amusing the taste and ingredients; meals such as lentil dumplings, oatmeal cookies or delicious salads with local ingredients.
In La Paz, the Sumaj Kausay organization took charge of the workshops. “We participated with 23 mothers, all of them with children under five” tells Moira Mendoza, Avance Comunitario manager. “Three days every week they learned new and fun ways to cook and bake nutritious food for their kids, mainly because here people eat many carbohydrate such as rice, noodles, potatoes, which aren’t very nutritious.”
More possibilities emerged from the new initiative. A recipe book is now published with all the recipes collected in the workshops and other sources. The book contains also advice and data about nutrition according to the national context.
Are there next steps? In October more children under five will be evaluated for growth and Local Partner staff will assess if this new approach worked as expected.