Health and Nutrition Program

Providing local children from a disadvantaged community with two nutritious meals per day.

Project located in Western Cape, South Africa
Project focused on Health & Nutrition

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Red Hill is an informal community which regularly faces the challenge of inadequate access to basic utilities such as water, sanitation, electricity and health care. This is partly due to the remote and inaccessible location of Red Hill. High rates of unemployment and underemployment within the community means that many families continue to live well below the bread line. This often results in families struggling to meet the daily necessities of life.
The low standard of living in the community limits the ability for families and schools in Red Hill to provide children with the nutrients required for healthy development. Without a balanced diet, children are unable to fend off disease and illness or reach their full potential developmentally.

Red Hill Preschool and Children of Hope Educare aim to help the children and community by providing food daily for the children in their care. Unfortunately, these two facilities struggle financially and need support to continue feeding their students.

The Health and Nutrition Program aims to provide a dynamic approach to addressing the challenges of health and nutrition for two schools in the community of Red Hill. The focal project supports the schools’ feeding programs by supplementing the funds needed to purchase nutritious foods such as fruit, vegetables, vitamin-infused breakfast porridge and rice for the children.

As a part of our commitment to child nutrition, meal plans are cooperatively developed using guidance from the Department of Social Services to ensure that the children’s diets meet national standards for healthy child development.

In partnership with the teachers, African Impact volunteers assess the Body Mass Index (BMI) of each child, over the age of 3 years, every term/quarter to monitor their physical development. Lesson plans and activities relating to good practice for health and nutrition are also incorporated within the annual curriculum to reinforce a healthy lifestyle through education. At school the children learn about the importance of personal hygiene, the relationship between what we eat and health, and exercise has been incorporated into the daily classroom routine. Additionally, every quarter, a nutrition workshop is conducted with all of the teachers to help educate them and increase their knowledge and capability on the importance of health and nutrition in various forms.

Short Term Impact:
Providing each student with a nutritious breakfast, fruit and lunch daily contributes to enhanced learning capacity. This means that not only do the children receive daily sustenance; they will have the energy to play and learn effectively.

Long Term Impact:
Supporting adequate nutrition for healthy child development and sharing knowledge on healthy living will provide children with the tools they need from a young age, to develop into strong, healthy adults.

Western Cape
Red Hill is an informal settlement made up of non-permanent housing and service structures. The 1 500 residents, who make up a colourful mix of Afrikaans, Xhosa and other African nationalities, do not have access to basic utilities such as water, sanitation, electricity and health care. This is partly due to the remote and inaccessible location of Red Hill. For the past 15 years the community has been demarcated for relocation, however it remains uncertain when or if action will be taken.
Achieved So Far:
2014

  • Continuing structured exercise as part of our lesson plans
  • Workshops with teachers on health and nutrition so they can be empowered to educate the children independently.
  • New addition of a herb and vegetable garden at Red Hill Preschool. The garden represents positive movement for the health and nutrition program, as the children are provided additional nutrition to their two meals at school in a sustainable, home grown manner.
  • Monitoring weight and BMI. We assess the children quarterly to ensure that they are receiving nutritious and healthy food – enabling a healthier lifestyle and better opportunities to learn. At the end of 2015 81% of children were identified as having a healthy BMI.

2015

  • Red Hill Preschool and Children of Hope Educare both received new cookers.This has allowed for more efficient cooking for the children, better allowing the teachers to provide the needed nutrition.

2016

  • We launched a partnership with Joint Aid Management (JAM) who provide daily nutrient-enriched porridge for each child. At one of the preschools, JAM continues to provide breakfast for the children.
  • We are continuing quarterly nutrition workshops with the teachers, already having completed a session on kitchen safety and proper cleanliness and procedure with children. We are also monitoring the children’s BMI each quarter.
  • 46.6% of children can identify 10 letters. Going form 0% to 36% the Hope Educare children can recognise numbers 1-10.