By engaging mothers in workshops on nutrition, hygiene and home gardening, the communities involved in FRB’s Peru-Chota program are seeing a reduction in child malnutrition. The 450 children are consuming 50% more calories per day over the last 3 years because their families have been able to diversify and improve the quantity and quality of the food they grow and eat. Also, since they are drinking clean water and washing their hands, children are less likely to be sickened by intestinal parasites. Their bodies can take better advantage of the nutrition now available to them.
Agricultural production is the primary economic activity for Chota families, but depleted soils, limited water availability, and poor home and environmental hygiene have traditionally resulted in high child malnutrition rates and high risks for pregnant mothers. The program team makes house-to-house visits to promote sustainable agricultural production techniques, healthy eating habits and proper hygiene.
Regular follow-up visits reinforce these practices with parents, children and teachers.Mothers who participate in the program must commit to maintaining a garden, preparing balanced meals, and providing safe drinking water in the home.
Workshops on hygiene focus on hand washing, boiling water for consumption, and safe chlorination. Attendees receive buckets with spigots to store clean water for family use.
At demonstrations on preparing balanced meals, mothers learn how to prepare and combine foods in a safe and sanitary way for optimal nutritional value. Families that attend vegetable-gardening workshops receive continuing technical assistance from the program team. They learn about the importance of having and maintaining a vegetable garden, the nutritional properties of the various vegetables, grains and legumes, and how, when consumed daily, these improve the health not only of their children, but of the whole family.
The Peru-Chota program encompasses 11 communities, 250 households, and 1325 individuals.