For the countless Filipino children that grapple with limited access to nutritious food and clean drinking water, getting through schoolwork isn’t only a grind, but a matter of survival. Today’s youth can do a lot to contribute to efforts towards fighting malnutrition amongst school-aged children. But disorganized projects and isolated efforts seldom make lasting change in communities.
That’s where advocacy programs like United for Healthier Kids and its local partner organizations come in.
Here are a few ways that you can help U4HK’s network battle school-age malnutrition:
Participate in a feeding program.
NGOs Project PEARLS, Children’s Hour, and Reach Out and Feed Philippines conduct daily feeding programs and supplement them with reading programs, a toy library, and tutorial sessions. They even have sports clinics, nutrition education sessions for parents, and monthly check-ups available. Volunteers are encouraged to bring in-kind donations of healthy food items, such as pasta, bread, fruits, and vegetables.
Turn your love for travel into a force for good.
Waves for Water aims to provide Filipino children in remote areas access to clean water by providing water filtration systems and rainwater harvesting systems to underserved, remote communities.
Through its Clean Water Couriers program, Waves for Water teaches interested couriers how to set up and maintain the clean water system, and volunteers are then encouraged to bring water filters each to a less-privileged community and share their knowledge with their chosen community.
Help schools grow their own food.
One of the ways that schoolchildren get access to nutritious food is through school gardens. East-West Seed Foundation builds and maintains gardens in public schools through its Oh My Gulay!–Tanim sa Kinabukasan program. Volunteers can engage in activities such as designing containers, setting up container gardens and planters, and transplanting vegetable seedlings.
Build a school or community kitchen.
Gawad Kalinga’s Kusina ng Kalinga program, Reach Out and Feed Philippines, and Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK) build kitchens for communities to complement school gardens. Volunteers and donors can help start a kitchen in their neighborhood and maintain it after it’s been built, setting up cooking instruments, storing ingredients, and teaching volunteer cooks and delivery teams healthy recipes.
Keep diseases away by building water and sanitation facilities.
One of the challenges that poorly nourished children have to face is combating diseases that can be found in bathwater or drinking water. The Philippine Red Cross distributes hygiene kits and builds water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities in schools. Volunteers can raise funds to build more WASH facilities in schools, or sign up for the Children’s Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (CHAST) program where children learn the basics of hygiene and sanitation.
Teach kids about nutrition, water, and healthy habits.
At Children’s Mission Philippines’ Community Nutrition Program, volunteers can conduct cooking classes with parents–teaching them lessons about how to make affordable, nutritious food, and how to purify their drinking water. Volunteers can help kids learn lessons on proper nutrition and hydration and physical activity through storytelling and arts and crafts.
Students and young professionals can help local organizations support children and communities as they combat malnutrition. Helping schoolchildren gain access to nutritious food and safe drinking water will help them improve their health and wellbeing and give them a better shot at a better life.
United for Healthier Kids (U4HK) is an advocacy initiated by Nestlé Philippines in partnership with FNRI (Food and Nutrition Research Institute) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and other institutions in helping address child malnutrition in the Philippines.
It has linked up with 10 local organizations with programs on nutrition, water, and nutrition education covering various parts of the Philippines: Advancement for Rural Kids, Children’s Hour, Children’s Mission Philippines, Gawad Kalinga-Kusina ng Kalinga, Philippine Red Cross, Project PEARLS, Reach Out and Feed Philippines, Waves for Water, and Virlanie Foundation.
U4HK is a global partnership rooted in science, powered by creativity and united to help parents raise a healthier generation of kids. For more information, visit www.u4hk.ph and www.facebook.com/u4hkPH.