week 49: this week i'm gonna... end malnutrition.
Project Healthy Children (PHC) and its Sanku initiative are dedicated to ending malnutrition for the most at-risk populations in the most remote corners throughout the world.
One such place is the Kakuma refugee camp near the Kenya-Sudan border. Kakuma means ‘nowhere’ in Swahili, and is the name given to this camp due to its remote location and harsh environment. Established in 1991, the Kakuma camp was designed to accommodate South Sudanese refugees fleeing from the conflict and violence of the second Sudanese civil war. Today, the camp accommodates a population of 179,000 - about the same population as Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
The wide majority of the families living in Kakuma are dependent on the food rations supplied by World Food Program (WFP) for their survival. Until recently, these food rations did not provide the important nutrients required for a healthy life. In 2015, WFP asked PHC and its Sanku initiative to provide the technology and expertise to fortify the food for the refugees.
The work of PHC/Sanku now extends to eight African countries, reaching nearly 55 million people (primarily women and children). Because food fortification is so inexpensive, for a few cents per person per year, they are helping to prevent blindness, birth defects, and deaths during childbirth, among other nutrition deficiency illnesses.
Project Healthy Children (PHC) and its Sanku initiative are dedicated to ending malnutrition through food fortification programs throughout the developing world. By providing technical, training, and tools assistance in fortifying staple foods like flour, they help to end malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency for less than 26 cents per person per year.
PHC/Sanku programs reach more than 55 million people, focusing on reducing illnesses related to the lack of essential micronutrients necessary for health. They work with governments and industries to design and implement micronutrient strategies in developing countries, utilizing models that have passed the tests of efficacy and feasibility.
Their mission is not to become a permanent fixture in the countries in which they work, but to assist in establishing programs that will continue to aid the community without ongoing assistance. They celebrate the day they leave a country - not the day they arrive.
Micronutrient malnutrition affects more than two billion people around the globe. It is the leading cause of intellectual disability in children due to iodine deficiency, preventable blindness due to vitamin A deficiency, maternal death during childbirth due to iron deficiency, and severe and often fatal birth defects (known as neural tube defects) due to folic acid deficiency. Diminished mental capacity and increased absenteeism due to iodine and iron deficiency also lead to lower academic achievement and lifelong consequences. Proper micronutrient health can mean the difference between a healthy, productive life and a life fraught with illness or even premature death.
Up to 90% of rural people in developing countries are eating from small-scale flourmills and do not have access to fortified flour. PHC is able to address this gap in national nutrition programming with their small-scale food fortification initiative, Sanku. PHC created a technical solution, the Sanku Dosifier, for these small-scale mills. For less than $2,500 per unit, the Sanku Dosifier can serve more than 30,000 people with nutritious flour and the necessary micronutrients for basic health.
In the Kakuma refugee camp, PHC/Sanku installed two of these fortifying devices. As a result, they were able to provide crucial nutritious flour to all of the 70,000 children at Kakuma. Together with WFP, they hope to scale the program across other refugee camps throughout east Africa, potentially giving hundreds of thousands of families a chance to rebuild their lives.
Notes for this week:
- December 10th is International Human Rights Day!
- Our collective givetwig donation will sponsor micronutrient fortification for approximately 2,200 people this year.
- For more information regarding Project Healthy Children, please check out their website.
this week i'm gonna donate to Project Healthy Children.