Good nutrition is the foundation for children’s survival, their health and development. Every year, around 3 million children die due to undernutrition. For millions more, poor nutrition can have a serious impact on brain development in the early years of life. This affects children’s ability to learn, grow and prosper, as well as their resilience to diseases and disasters.
Evidence shows us that the first 1,000 days from the start of a woman’s pregnancy to the child’s second birthday are essential in preventing under-nutrition and its consequences.
Food assistance: Managing malnutrition and food crises
Our food assistance work takes action before, during and after disasters by supporting programmes such as:
- prevention and management of malnutrition
- distribution of food and nutrients
- school feeding
- cash and voucher-based support
- building local capacity.
We work in partnership with communities, local agencies and internationalist specialist agencies on food assistance to address malnutrition, and use analysis and advocacy to influence policies and bring about lasting improvements.
Plan International works in partnership to strengthen the effectiveness of humanitarian response and is a member of the Scaling Up Nutrition initiative*, global food security cluster*, global nutrition cluster* and the Cash Learning Partnership* of which we are a board member.
Providing nutrition for children in Nepal
Plan International is ensuring that children affected by the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal have adequate nutrition through food assistance and the coordination of monthly nutrition meetings.
In a country already suffering with high rates of child malnutrition, the impact of the earthquakes has worsened health conditions. Since the first earthquake, more than 10,000 children have been identified as acutely malnourished.
In response, Plan International has distributed 40,000 food packs – comprising of 20kg rice, 3kg pulse, oil, salt, sugar and other spices – enough to support a family of 5 for a week.
“Many earthquake-affected mothers are consuming less food and are suffering from water and sanitation-related diseases meaning they are producing less breast milk for their babies,” explains Kaushal Kishore Singh, Plan International Nepal’s Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Specialist.
Plan International is working with hundreds of Female Community Health Volunteers to coordinate monthly women’s groups in many of the villages affected by the earthquakes to ensure women and children receive adequate food assistance.
“During the communal feeding groups, mothers are taught how to find and prepare available, nutritional food,” explains Singh.
During these meetings, staff members weigh and measure each child to ensure they are growing as they should be.
Children are actively involved in the communal feeding groups. Emphasis is placed on providing fun and entertainment for the children, while women practice their new skills.
The communal feeding groups are enabling women and their children to come together to prepare food and share meals – ensuring that children are growing up healthily.
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