Zooming on: the Dandum School, download the poster.
Although Guinea-Bissau has made progress in reducing child mortality, children under five years of age still face a double threat. One in five will die before reaching its fifth birthday, and one in four suffers malnutrition, which consequences on health and education exposes children to a present and future of poverty and disease.
The Dandum School, located in a remote village in the southeast of Guinea-Bissau, is supported by the UN Joint Programme Promotion of a Multi-Level Approach to Child Malnutrition in Guinea-Bissau, financed by MDG Achievement Fund.
This joint programme rallies the Government of Guinea- Bissau [Ministries of Health, Education and Agriculture], UN agencies [FAO-WFP-WHO-UNICEF], NGO Caritas, community leaders and local NGOs to fight child malnutrition and mortality in the three most affected regions in the East of the country: Bafatá, Gabú and Oio. All stakeholders contribute their respective expertise and capacities to achieve a common goal and strengthen national capacities in monitoring, treating and preventing malnutrition through better nutrition and food practices.
In the Dandum school, as in others, FAO and WFP work hand in hand to improve children’s nutrition and education. However through WFP regular programme activities, WFP provides school meals for pupils through a School Canteen Programme. Within the Joint Programme, WFP provides food supplements to malnourished children and pregnant and malnourished lactating women in the Health Centers beneficiaries of the JP. FAO provides seeds, gardening tools and trainings to the teachers, parents, school staff, school cooks, health community workers and children for the management of a school garden, and nutrition education to improve food practices and dietary habits. Educational material specifically adapted to local context was developed to help children learn about nutrition in a playful manner. Communities are thus empowered to fight malnutrition with their own resources and knowledge.
The nutrition activities of the joint programme are integrated with health interventions. In the Dandum Health Center, UNICEF and WHO provide training and education to empower Health Staff (in health center) and community health workers and families to better recognize malnutrition symptoms, address them and prevent their upraising through better nutrition, hygiene and basic health care practices, in the framework of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI).
Local journalists are trained and equipped to produce and broadcast educational messages through rural radio. Radio programs which are broadcast regularly by 5 radio stations in the three beneficiary regions can sensitize community leaders and men, many of whom are important decision-makers regarding family expenses and the way in which children spend their time. These community leaders and men therefore have a key influence on the choices families make regarding healthcare and diet for children.
At the end of the 3-year joint programme, about 25 000 children will have been supported through school garden and nutrition education activities and 30 000 families will have improved their diets and practices to prevent malnutrition: better nutrition for better life and better future!
JOINT PROGRAMME QUICK FACTS
This joint programme contributes to the achievement of 3 Millennium Development Goals:
- Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
- Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Participating Agencies : FAO, UNICEF, WFP, WHO
Main Achievements so far
1. The management of acute malnutrition cases is implemented at the national level: in 24 nutrition rehabilitation and 94 health centers.
2. 100% of beneficiary communities (150) have trained community health workers (816 against 600 planned) to initiate community growth monitoring and promotion activities in all three (3) beneficiary regions as a way of early detection and prevention of stunting and other forms of malnutrition (underweight and wasting).
3. 167 school gardens are established in beneficiary school communities against 150 initially planned and 0 existent in the beginning of the JP. At least 90% of school children consume once a day vegetables produced in school.
4. Ministry of Health improved its capacity to effectively monitor nutritional activities at the local level and is now able to provide updated data on nutritional status in the project area: reported and treated Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) cases.
5. Acceleration of progress towards 3 targeted MDGs (1, 2 and 4) by raising awareness, strengthening broad-based support and action and increasing citizen engagement in MDG related policy and practice are promoted through the implementation of the JP Communication and Advocacy Strategy and its plan. This includes partnerships with community radio, communities, regional authorities, teachers and citizens. (more…)