A partnership between a school, NGO, church, and the government helped 38 students achieve 100 percent nourishment in the Philippines.

26.5 percent of the population in the Philippines lives below the poverty line. Due to lack of resources and health education, many children experience hunger throughout the country. In Camariens Norte, Philippines, many students were not able to focus in school due to malnourishment.

Malnourishment affects 792 million people worldwide. At least a third of them are children. Out of the 130 students at M. Guinto Elementary School, 38 students were coming to school hungry. Due to this hunger, students were at a high risk for malnourishment, delayed cognition and psychomotor development. Furthermore, without proper education and health, these students will encounter risks such as premature death, unemployment, and poverty.

The Philippines experiences 18.19 deaths for every 1,000 live births. As a point of reference, the death rate in the US is 5.9 deaths for every 1,000 live births. Moreover, unemployment for youth, ages 15-24 is 17.4 percent in the Philippines. Receiving a proper education and ensuring a healthy life can decrease the mortality and unemployment rates throughout the country. One woman had a vision for tackling the widespread malnourishment in her community.

Agnes Acal, the school nutritionist, initiated a partnership between her church, the school and Food for the Hungry. Although the government was providing one meal a week for each child, many children were still experiencing food insecurity.

The partnership established a 60-day program for the students and their parents. The program consisted of providing meals five days a week to the students, as well as educating parents on nutrition and hygiene. One month after the program, the children’s BMI reflected 100 percent success. All 38 children were properly nourished.

20 percent of children under the age of five in the Philippines are underweight. Due to partnerships like this one, more children throughout the Philippines will be able to live healthy lives, gain an education, and find employment as adults.

 – Caressa Kruth

Sources: Food for the Hungry, CIA, Livestrong
Photo: The PhilStar