Starting in May, the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) will have a new program to address the health and nutrition needs of women and children in Kenya thanks to the Canadian government, the University of Manitoba, and the Canadian Foograins Bank (CFGB).
Through a competitive bidding process, the government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) selected the University of Manitoba and CFGB to be a recipient of $1.7 million over three years for improving maternal, neonatal, and child health. This contribution will be used to fund a CRWRC program with Pwani Christian Community Services (CCS) in Mwatate in the Coastal Province of Kenya.
Mwatate was selected because of the high levels of poverty and food insecurity that exist there. The population is primarily rural with the lowest levels of literacy and the highest levels of food poverty in all of Kenya, both of which are risk factors for poor nutrition. Studies have shown a high number of children in this region die between the ages of one and five due to under-nutrition. Because of its rural location, the delivery of appropriate health care is further complicated. The nearest health facility is more than ten kilometers away.
“While there are some maternal, neonatal, and child health as well as food security programs in the region, the proposed new project will link these all together,” said Fred Witteveen, CRWRC Country Consultant in Kenya. “We’ll train local women to be advocates within their community. They will assess health and nutrition needs, encourage proper pre and post-natal care, and refer women and children to health services when appropriate. We’ll also ensure that vital nutritional supplements such as vitamins and other micronutrients are available and distributed when deficiencies are observed.”
“We’re excited about the changes that we hope will take place in Mwatate over the next three years,” Davis Omanyo, CRWRC Team Leader for Eastern Africa, added. “Please keep CRWRC, Pwani CCS, and the communities here in your prayers.”
~ by Kristen deRoo Vanderberg, CRWRC Communications