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Improving Nutrition in Nicaragua
A Presbyterian Church in Canada program is helping reduce malnutrition and provide income for communities in a poor region of Nicaragua.


A food security and nutrition program is making a big difference to families in Nicaragua. Working with local program partner, Soynica, Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D), has helped 420 extremely poor families significantly improve their health, food security and nutrition levels through education, crop diversification and illness prevention techniques.

Nicaragua

The World Health Organization states that consuming three servings of fruit and vegetables in a day is optimum and two servings is acceptable, while anything less is insufficient to maintain adequate levels of nutrition.

When the PWS&D-supported program began in 2005, fewer than ten percent of the families were eating three or more portions of vegetables and fruit each day. By 2009, nearly half were consuming three servings, while over 40 percent were eating two servings. More than two-thirds of the families also considerably increased their vegetable production during this time.

Over the last five years, families participating in the program have seen significant results: rates of malnutrition decreased from five percent to one percent, the rate of anemia in children under six decreased by 45 percent and the rate of children born underweight decreased by six percent. All 420 families are now growing fruit trees, which are not only supplementing their diets but also providing an additional source of income when the excess fruit is sold at the market.

Daniel Pérez, from the community of El Chichicaste, spoke about the success of the program. “When the Soynica technicians arrived and they began to talk with my daughter and I didn’t give them any importance. I had always planted my beans, corn and sorghum, which was what I was accustomed to planting even though I had losses. But with the insistence of the workers that my daughter plant other crops, I gave up part of my land so that she could plant the crops. Now I am completely convinced that diversification is the only alternative to the food crisis we’re in.”

Originally published in Spotlight, Presbyterian Church of Canada, June 2010.

Used with permission. Copyright © 2010 Christianity.ca.
 

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