Food Security for the Recuperation of Malnourished Children

  • Health
  • Youth
  • Agriculture
  • Benin
This project is led by Madison Dreyer, a Volunteer from Pennsylvania

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The objective of the project is to decrease the effects of malnutrition on the children of the community. Malnutrition, specifically the protein-deficiency Kwashiorkor, results in stunted growth and development, and sometimes death. Many children’s diets are severely lacking in protein, resulting in many cases of Kwashiorkor throughout the community. This project will aid in the recuperation of malnourished children and orphans by increasing their protein intake through the consumption of eggs and chicken meat. Creating a space to raise egg-laying chickens will directly provide beneficiaries with a reliable and healthy protein source. The two groups of direct beneficiaries within this project are malnourished children identified by the health center and 53 primary school orphans. These eggs and meat will be utilized in cooking demonstrations for the mothers of malnourished children, and will be prepared in 4 free meals per week for the orphans. Having a reliable source of protein-rich foods is key to the recuperation and development of these children, and this project will ensure a sufficient supply. At maximum production with 240 chickens, we can rely on having 1400 eggs per week, ensuring 16 per orphan per week and over 400 for recuperation, while still having an excess. The project can create a revenue stream, as excess eggs will be sold to help pay for coop maintenance, chicken feed, and cooking demonstration ingredients. Our community will assist by providing the real-estate, labor for ground preparation, as well as 25% of the materials needed to realise this project.

This project will be designed in a way that will ensure that the community has the capability of sustaining its activities. Once the initial funding is set in place with this grant, the only continuing costs will be covered by the revenue that results from the selling of excess chickens and eggs. These costs include things such as chicken feed and general coop maintenance. My supervisor, already exhibits sustainability through the project he put in place which is the 4 meals per week that are given to the 53 primary-school orphans. He has worked with Peace Corps volunteers before, and understands the necessity that sustainability holds in our projects. To ensure the continuous functioning and maintenance of the chicken coop, the NGO will enlist the help of the immediate neighbors that benefit from the gardens on the property. There are 5 youth community members that are eager to learn and help, and this will be a perfect opportunity for them to gain experience and better understand the techniques to best raise small animals. In terms of the cooking demonstrations for malnourished children, the community volunteer has exhibited a deep passion for ensuring that the communities malnourished are recuperated. I have no doubt that she will uphold her responsibility in terms of giving the demonstrations. This aspect of the project is sustainable in a community sense, because each mother that participates in the demonstrations will be responsible for bringing a certain ingredient. They will also be responsible for sharing what they’ve learned with their surrounding neighbors and friends. This will result in a community-wide increase in capacity in terms of preparing healthy, nutritious meals. In order to sustain the benefits in the long-term, it will be necessary to have a source of revenue to maintain the necessary elements of the project. This will come from the sale of excess chickens and eggs to community members. The long-term vision for this project is to create a space where community members can find accessible, reliable sources of protein for their diet. As mentioned previously, a large problem is the lack of affordable meat and eggs. With this chicken coop, community members will be able to come to a space where they can find affordable protein. The goal is not to form a profit, solely to be self-sustainable. Thus, excess chickens and eggs can be sold at a discount that the people of the community can comfortably afford. Once the initial material support has ended, this will be a self-sufficient space that functions with the purchases made by the community, and with the help of the 5 youth members the coop will continue to thrive. Through the connection to the health center, more cases of malnutrition will be identified and sent to the center long after my service has ended. It is through the training of the community volunteer, who will also take the responsibility of training the other community volunteers, that the recuperation and cooking demonstrations will continue to thrive. The chicken coop will also help to sustain the NGO’s gardens in a long-term sense. The chicken's feces will be collected and used as a natural fertilizer that will increase the quality of the garden beds that give crops that are used in the orphan’s meals as well as the cooking demonstrations.

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