As Kenya begins to recover from drought and resulting food crisis, now is the time to invest in lasting solutions to increase access to good nutrition, especially for pregnant women and young children.
Together with community organizations, local businesses and the Kenyan Government we are right now reaching 20,000 children in Southern Kenya with the essential nutrients they need to live, grow and learn. And this work is made possible through powerful, local women - community leaders, health workers, and mothers - working together to help nourish the future.
View photos from the project.
This is just the first step. Over the next six months, health workers will continue to educate mothers about the importance of good nutrition and the proper use of home nutrition packets. This work is ongoing, because good nutrition matters every single day.
The Nutrition Situation in Kenya
Sitting in the northeast “Horn” of Africa, Kenya is known for its vibrant culture, environment and economy. Yet, Kenya is also highly challenged by food insecurity. Drought, escalating food prices, and conflict have brought hunger and malnutrition to more than 2.4 million people in Kenya. As a result, children have alarmingly high rates of Vitamin A deficiency and anemia, leading to increased rates of blindness, illness, and even death from common childhood infections. 35% of children in Kenya are stunted, meaning they will never be able to meet their full physical potential. Malnutrition is a country-wide problem affecting the poorest families who do not have access to nutritious foods, in particular women and young children. But all of this is on the verge of change.
Our Plan: From Pilot to Nationwide Impact
Phase 1: The Pilot
We recently invested in a pilot project to distribute home nutrition packets to families in Western Kenya. This demonstrated the effectiveness of improving nutrition. The project was a success, leading to a 14% reduction in iron deficiency anemia. Watch our video about this pilot project!
Phase 2: Awareness Building
Our partners at DSM and Herbalife are producing more than 20 million home nutrition packets called “Mix Me.” That’s enough to reach more than 300,000 children over the course of 6 months.
But it’s not enough just to have the product. We must invest in educating mothers and families on the importance of good nutrition and the proper use of home nutrition packets. This is a critical step, as education ensures the use of home nutrition packets are part of optimal feeding practices, including exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life.
And as we build awareness and educate families on home nutrition packets and good child feeding practices, we will also build demand for better nutrition. We are simultaneously working with local suppliers to get home nutrition packets into neighborhood stores and corner kiosks so mothers can access them every day at a price they can afford.
Phase 3: Nationwide Scale
We are working alongside the Kenyan Government and its partners, such as Feed the Children, to embark on a countrywide effort to improve nutrition for 1.5 million children. Because, good nutrition is essential during the 1,000 days from a woman’s pregnancy to a child’s second birthday, putting children on the right track for good physical and mental growth and long-term health and well-being. As such, the Government of Kenya is working to ensure children 6 to 24 months have access to essential nutrients as a part of optimal child feeding practices, including breastfeeding.
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