Curing children through their mothers

From the demographic studies held in the last few years in some western African countries and in the Sahel, including some areas affected by armed conflicts, it is possible to observe a very high malnutrition rate (more than 10% of children under the age of five).

The Nutritional Centre was born in 1999 to face this often-underrated issue in the Tonkpi region (Man).

From the beginning, raising awareness on the risks connected to acute malnutrition, its causes and consequences, has been the main strategic focus to engage mothers. The local community has been involved in an education process about how to identify and solve problems connected to malnutrition, hence stimulating a more responsible and educational approach to children.

The Centre, known as Focolare Supplementary Nutritional Centre (FSNC), is operated by a team of 11 people: some are professionals, while others, often illiterate mothers, were trained on the field and give an essential contribution to the project. A strong sense of fraternity is what makes us willing to carry on with it.

Every month, the FSNC welcomes about:
– 50 children (0 to 6 months old) following the exclusive breastfeeding programme.
– 100 children (6 months to 2 years old) treated for malnutrition prevention.
– 150 malnourished children.
– 30 malnourished pregnant or breastfeeding moms

The Centre serves not only the city, but also other 40 villages nearby. 12 of these villages are periodically participating into medical training sessions, also covering nutrition and hygiene issues.

Currently the team is supported by a group of a hundred specifically trained people from these villages that passionately work for the cause of malnourished children, attaining very satisfactory results.

The Centre has received more than 22.000 children, 50% of which were malnourished. Among these, 98% successfully recovered from this condition. 1.000 pregnant and breastfeeding women were also treated and healed in the centre.

The development of nutritional aeducation will allow women to become more aware of the nutritional resources available to them and to learn the basics of a balanced diet, hence contributing to the reduction of malnutrition rate in their families.

Our mission is to have a beneficial impact of the entire city of Man and the nearby villages by contributing as much as possible to the reduction of infant mortality rate in these areas.

We were able to purchase a mill that allows us to transform significant quantities of grains into flour. Thanks to this, we started producing several types of flours suitable for different ages and nutritional stages. We are planning to purchase a tool for the production and conservation of local resources for sustaining the nutrition of vulnerable people and the sale at social prices.

The new sanitary centre now includes a medial and a nutritional department, so that it is possible to simultaneously treat children that present malnutrition and other diseases connected to it. Malnutrition in children that are less than 3 years old can lead to severe consequences, like impairing their intellectual development.

Eliminating malnutrition will give us a more dynamic and successful Africa, protagonist of future development.