Access to healthcare and access to food are basic human rights. However, hunger is a very real problem for many children in Malawi. There is a high prevalence of under-nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies and the stunting rate for children under 5 in Malawi is 42% (World Food Program), a figure that has not improved for many years. Primary schools have high dropout rates and for those who do attend school, many go on empty stomachs. This not only affects a child’s health, but also their concentration levels and performance in class, and contributes to the number of children dropping out of school.
As well as running feeding programs and providing healthcare to our sponsored students, Determined to Develop has a health support fund for people in the village. This allows people from the local community to come to us when they have health issues and we can help with the provision of medication, helping to take patients to clinics and transporting bodies for funerals.
Determined to Develop initiated a school-feeding program at two local nursery schools and two local primary schools, after consultation with local chiefs and members of the community. Studies show that feeding programs create better cognitive ability, greater muscle growth, greater attendance rate and a lower dropout rate. The school-feeding program provides a nutritious meal of fortified porridge to students. The ingredients are given to Mother’s Groups who cook and distribute porridge to the children.
Through its feeding program, D2D feeds almost 2,000 children per day, equating to about 360,000 school meals each year.
A meal of porridge costs about half a cent per day per child so any money donated goes a long way. For example US $1,500 covers one of the nursery school feeding programs (almost 100 children a day) for a whole year.