Child-Focused Community Development in El Salvador
Feed the Children’s child-focused community-development (CFCD) program approach includes four cornerstone pillars: Food & Nutrition, Health & Water, Education, and Livelihoods. We work to transform lives by improving the food & nutrition security of mothers and children, and more specifically to reduce malnutrition and poverty. This happens when parents have the skills they need to raise well-nourished and thriving children, when communities are clean and keep children healthy, when children get the education they need to grow up to have good jobs and to raise healthy children themselves, and when parents have the skills and resources they need to feed their families.
The most crucial time period for development is during early childhood. If malnutrition can be prevented during the first 24 months of a child’s life, he or she is more likely to achieve more education and income over his or her lifetime. To support pregnant mothers in El Salvador in ensuring the well-being of their children, Feed the Children provides them with iron and vitamin supplements to promote healthy fetal growth. Feed the Children then offers support after the birth of the child through child growth monitoring (direct beneficiaries=2,000), food supplements, deworming medication, vitamin supplements and malnutrition rehabilitation. Additionally, Feed the Children’s nutrition training (DB=2,000) helps build mothers’ capacity to make better decisions around feeding their children. Feed the Children aims to equip communities with the proper tools to combat health issues internally. Many childhood deaths can be prevented by implementing sanitation initiatives, so Feed the Children helps residents implement WASH initiatives to create a clean environment that enables children to live healthy lives. In El Salvador, some of these practices include Community-Led Total Sanitation projects that aim to create a community free from open waste by installing clean community water sources or latrines, promoting healthy practices to child caregivers and their children (DB=6,000), and encouraging point-of-use water purification. One notable project is the construction of pipelines from a clean water source to the community of El Cedro, providing water storage and treatment along the way. This project will be sustained by community management and fee collection. Community medical brigades are also established to address health concerns as they arise (DB=1,000), and citizens are screened and referred to health facilities as needed, with the goal of communities determining when outside health support is needed through Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM). Children who acquire more years of schooling are more likely to escape poverty and implement innovative practices that will enable them to live more healthy and productive lives. In El Salvador, short-term hunger can be a major hindrance to school attentiveness, so Feed the Children provides daily school meals (DB=2,100). Feed the Children also provides deworming medication (DB=1,400) and school supplies for school-aged children (DB=1,000) so that no child’s education is hindered by poor health or lack of materials. We know that creating a conducive learning environment also means equipping parents to support their children, too. This is achieved by sharing the benefits of school registration and providing PTA support and literacy training. In El Salvador, childhood outcomes are greatly improved when families and communities are not worried about basic necessities. When communities are able to adapt sustainable and economical livelihood practices, a child’s opportunities increase. To encourage healthy and productive lifestyles, community, school and homestead gardens and tree nurseries are established to encourage sustainable eating practices (DB=3,000), increase food security and improve child-micronutrient intake. The chicken project is another viable tool for subsistence, where families give the offspring of their livestock to another community member. Both community gardens and livestock increase purchasing power for residents. In addition, mothers are encouraged to leverage their skills for economical use through other projects, too, such as developing handmade products for sale and business-management training. The health and well-being of mothers closely impacts their children, so Feed the Children implements activities for mothers to understand and reduce maternal depression and to reduce gender-based violence and other gender-equity issues in El Salvador (DB=1,100). By implementing these awareness activities, mothers can ensure their own safety and psychological health, as well as their children’s.
The above reports data from fiscal year 2016 for Feed the Children.
Nutrition, Gender, Children
- El Salvador>Santa Ana
- El Salvador>San Salvador
- El Salvador>Ahuachapan
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