Ecuador: Project in Santa Elena Province Aims to Improve Nutrition of Small Children
LA LIBERTAD -The World Food Programme (WFP) Representative in Ecuador, Deborah Hines, visited communities in Santa Elena with a Provincial Government team in order to discuss details about the project aimed at improving the nutrition of children from 6 up to 36 months of vulnerable families in Santa Elena.
The key partners in this WFP-Government of Santa Elena project are the associations of small producers, especially women. The women farmers’ locally-produced food can be redeemed by poor families through WFP’s vouchers, allowing families to include fresh vegetables and fruits in their meals. This scheme is a win-win for all sides: It promotes local production of organic, healthy, and nutritious foods, the farmers’ associations have a new market and improve their incomes, and poor families improve their nutrition and health.
Besides the WFP food vouchers, the families of children aged 6 months to 3 years living in extreme poverty will receive training on nutrition so they know how to prepare and combine foods to get the highest nutritional value, and which are best hygiene practices for handling, storing and preparing foods. The project will also include training families on how to prepare orchards, deworming practices, how to access safe water and how to improve home floors.
More than enhancing local capacity for food and nutrition security, WFP’s goal is to empower women to make decisions related to family nutrition and, in the case of farmers, on agricultural production. In several instances, many of these women are single mothers and heads of households. In all of its activities, WFP promotes the reduction of gender-based violence.
As part of this project, WFP and the Latin American Social Sciences Institute (FLACSO, in Spanish) will carry out an evaluation to assess in particular the project’s impact on family nutrition –especially in reducing anemia—among the children in Santa Elena following changes in dietary and eating habits, and the improved income among small holder farmers, especially women.