Basic Nutrition for 60 Children in Kandisi, Kenya

Project location: KENYA, Kandisi
Project start date: July 2012 - Project end date: June 2013
Project number: 2012-021
Beneficiary: Fondazione Don Orione Onlus


The project is the result of the study and analysis of local needs. Working in constant co-operation with local representative, it is clear that the most urgent need, among others, which requires attention, is food and water security. The intervention will be made at the Holy Spirit Parish, Catholic Church run by the Sons of Divine Providence (Don Orione) which some years ago brought about the birth of the Kandisi Nursery School which is today a point of reference per children and families in the surrounding villages. The school has 2 classes with about 30 children in each class. They are children with serious conditions of poverty and the school assures them of basic needs: food, education and medical assistance. 75% of these are orphans who live with their grandparents who are often the first to be in need of help. The remaining 25% are in a vulnerable situation.

The major problems which the children have are:
• Malnutrition caused by the lack of the essential components of a good ordinary diet
• Diseases linked to poor nutrition (e.g. lack of vitamins, diseases caused by parasites and infectious diseases) and the scarcity of drinking water.
• Excessive weakness related to the above-mentioned problems and to the long distances, even as much as 5 km, between the family home and the nursery school, with the consequences of long periods of absence and difficulty of re-integration in the educational system.

With the passing of the years the number of children has increased and this has made it more difficult to maintain the basic nutrition and a sufficient education.

Food, hygiene, availability of drinking water and education are the elements which the intervention intends to guarantee for an improvement of the health and well-being of the beneficiaries. The poor are often malnourished, in part because they live in areas characterised by drought and low productivity and vulnerable because they are poor and malnourished. This vicious circle can be broken by focusing attention on activities such as agriculture, and constantly planning and programming the interventions.
The right to food is "the right of every man, woman and child, individually and, together with their community, to have physical and economic access at all times to adequate food and to the means necessary to obtain it, out of respect for their human dignity".
Kenya is located in central east Africa. Crossed by the equator, it borders Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. To the West it shares a short edge of Lake Victoria and in the South East has a coastline of 400 km facing the Indian Ocean. The surface area the country is approximately 580,000 square km with a population density of 59 inhabitants per square km. The GDP in 2008 amounted to 4.1% and is distributed as follows: agriculture 23.8%, industry 16.7%, services 59.5%. 75% of the workforce is employed in agriculture, which, however, is mostly devoted to subsistence crops (cereals, cassava, potatoes).

In recent months the political situation in Kenya has been characterized by a gradual process of leaving the post-election crisis that occurred in January 2008. The clashes stemming from the presidential elections caused the death of 1,500 Kenyans and generated a flow of 500,000 displaced persons.
The reconciliation government has encouraged the return to order, but many questions remain. The resolution of these problems is made more difficult by rampant corruption. According to the NGO Transparency International agency, Kenya ranks in the 50th place (out of 179 countries) in the grade that evaluates the perception of corruption in the public sector, causing many potential donors and businesses to keep away from investing in the country.
The periods of drought, more and more frequent due to the high variability of rainfall, have caused severe degradation of performance in many areas, leading Kenya to lose in the last twenty years ranking positions in the Index of Human Development. In Kenya today we talk about emergency hunger: food prices have skyrocketed (52% increase between 2007 and 2008) and a decisive action is required to ensure food security for 2.5 million people faced with serious difficulties because of the great drought that is killing the country and the consequent lack of food.
Small farmers have found themselves not knowing what, where and when to produce. Meanwhile, inflation has exceeded 25% and the cost of electricity has increased almost fourfold.
FAO, in the annual edition of the report "The State of Food Insecurity in the World - 2008" has included Kenya among the "food crisis" countries.
The same report notes that in recent years the percentage of undernourished population has grown from 8% to 11% and therefore the scenario envisioned with respect to achieving the first Millennium goal, namely TO ERADICATE EXTREME POVERTY AND HUNGER, appears, today, extremely negative. The cost of hunger is reflected in the loss of the productive capacity of workers, on education and schooling, all factors that cause a low overall economic growth. The state of emergency is also reflected by the data on child malnutrition, measured at around 30%. In this context, the child loses immunity and becomes an easy victim of infections, diarrhoea, cholera and skin diseases.
Drought and water shortages that continue even today, favour the perpetuation of poverty. The latest UNDP report addressing climate change has highlighted the delicate balance of water in Kenya, a country with the highest risk of drought in the world, which means, for example, that children under five years between are 36 % and 50% more likely malnourished if born in a drought. In Kenya, as in many developing countries and particularly in the buffer zone of sub-Saharan Africa, there is a direct correlation between drought and the human development index.
With reference to the water situation in the country, we highlight the following Unicef 2008 data:
- Access to safe water: 61% of the population (46% in rural areas)
- Access to adequate sanitation: 43% of the population (41% in rural areas)
These issues were added to an already complex situation in the country, where unemployment is endemic and the towns degenerate into the infamous slums.

The Kandisi area is a rural area of small hamlets bordering the capital Nairobi, in whose district it is located. It covers an area of 70,000 square km and is inhabited by about 20,000 people. The population is very poor; the houses defend themselves from the sun with cardboard, plastic and sheet metal. There is no job that can afford to guarantee their livelihoods and living health conditions are very bad. The most common economic activity is agriculture (mainly subsistence), and, secondly, include stock-breeding and trade.
Because it is near the equator, the temperature differences between summer and winter are very small. Throughout the year there are two rainy seasons, one from March to May and from October to December. Here, however, the severe droughts of recent years have caused the collapse of the production of staple crops like corn and beans, compromising both the diet of people and their purchasing power. Few agricultural products have reached maturity, the price of corn rose from Kshs 20 per kg (June) to Kshs 30 per kg (in September).
The district health centres report an increase in malnutrition, with 35% of children in need of medical care and underweight. Moreover, in the last months of 2008 the water sources have dried up and the average distance for access to water resources has increased from 5 to 8 km. People have to travel long distances or spend 1 euro to cover the entire family needs. If you think that, on average, families in this area live on 2 Euros per day, then you understand how the remaining money will not be enough to provide even the needs of food, medicines and basic necessities. Milk consumption has decreased throughout the area and the decrease can be attributed to the scarcity of water and fodder for animals.
The main diseases affecting local people are AIDS and malaria, plagues that cause a high presence of orphans. The majority of the population lacks adequate access to care and this situation, next to the insufficient availability of water, is dangerously perpetuating the widespread local poverty which, as already discussed, primarily affects children. Just think how repeated bouts of diarrhoea during the first year of life, are the cause of severe vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition and hamper the proper physical development. Children that are constantly suffering from water-borne diseases are at a disadvantage even at the school level. There has been a sharp decline in school attendance in the last 3 years, and among the most frequent causes, there is poor health linked precisely to these issues; the cognitive potential is reduced, it generates truancy, poor attention, and early leaving.

The poor are often malnourished, in part because they live in areas affected by drought and low productivity and are vulnerable to climate risks because they are poor and malnourished. The vicious circle must be stopped by paying attention to agriculture, constantly planning and practical actions. The words of the Director of the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), Kenya's parastatal body, were clear: "we do not have enough food because we never paid enough attention to agriculture and this must change if the country wants to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and food security. "
The project stems from the idea of the local partners to meet the needs identified in the logo. Thus, this project currently has no precedents, but it is part of an international intervention to support and address the serious drought situation already mentioned.
As previously described, the area Kandisi is bordering the capital, Nairobi, where the majority of funding for long-term projects arrive. So, this project is an intervention in the specific and medium term and has more difficulty in finding appropriate funding sources. Obviously, the support of the Don Orione Work in collaboration with the Fondazione Don Orione is guaranteed.

The general objective of this project is part of the Millennium Objective n.1 "to eliminate estreme poverty and hunger" and Objective n. 4 "to reduce infant mortality". The project has as its objective to work for the food security and to campaign against malnutrition in the area of Kandisi, Kenya, by making the best use of the resources of the terrain and improving the health and hygiene and nutritional education of the community.

Specific objectives:
• Guarantee adequate nutrition to the children of Kandisi Nursery School
The objective aims at assuring the 60 children of the nursery school daily nutritious meals on a continuous daily basis, as well as access to drinking water.
These are fundamental to the early development of the children both physically and mentally.
• Promote activities geared to the sustainability of meals through the initiation of the horticultural work.
This objective aims at long-term self-sufficiency in food for the Kandisi Nursery School by means of using a field given by the Parish, through the professional formation of the families in horticulture and nutrition.
• Creating awareness and responsibility in the local population regarding food education and correct nutrition.
There will be formation meetings for creating awareness directly in the beneficiaries and open to the entire community, on the theme of food security and on rules of hygiene and health.

With the project "Basic nutrition for 60 children of Kandisi" the intention is to work for the food security and for the struggle against malnutrition of the infant children coming from the area of Kandisi in Kenya.
The intervention will be implemented by the local partner, the Holy Spirit Parish, Catholic Church Kandisi (Catholic Parish of Kandisi, run by the Sons of Divine Providence (Don Orione) in co-operation with the "Fondazione Don Orione".
The beneficiaries of the initiative are 60 children of the Kandisi Nursery School. The project will be implemented using a piece of land measuring about 2.5 hectares, offered by the Parish, which will be used for horticultural production. It will be developed according to the following guidelines:
1. Action to combat hunger
The purchase and distribution of basic food for the meals of the nursery school in order to combat the hunger emergency and to help those beneficiaries who are in extreme difficulties.
2. Growing and harvesting of agricultural products.
The first phase is to prepare the land for sowing various seeds of vegetables for meals for the little children.
3. A programme of awareness creation, information and formation of families and the children of the nursery school about food safety and education will be implemented.
A complete programme of information, formation and sensitisation centred on the themes of food security and respect for the laws of health and hygiene will be developed.

A. Action to combat hunger
In order to combat the critical situation of food, the project from the beginning requires the launching of the phase of working the land and the purchase and distribution of food products for the benefit of the children of the nursery school. These products are basic nutrients which make up the local diet: tomatoes, potatoes, powdered milk etc. Therefore the plan is to acquire and distribute the most urgently needed food products and destine them for the meals of the nursery school in order to combat the emergency of hunger and help the beneficiaries who are in extreme difficulties.
B. Growing and harvesting of agricultural products.
Before starting to cultivate the field, it must be fertilised, made soft and prepared to receive seeds with the help of the agricultural instruments foreseen in the project. Regarding the fertilisation of the land, both natural and chemical fertilisers will be used to assist the sowing and development of the shoots. In this way, greater harvests will be guaranteed over the year.
C. Implementation of the programme of creating awareness, information and formation on preventive care and food education for families and children of the nursery school.
Meetings for awareness creation will be organised on the themes of nutrition and food security for families and children. This formation will aim of giving the beneficiaries the basic elements and information about hygiene and food and about nutritional characteristics so that they will be able to understand the value of physical and mental health, and learn good habits of hygiene and nutrition.

The anticipated achievements or outcomes of this project, which received a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation are:
- Improve the health and hygiene and nutritional condition of the 60 children of the nursery school
- Put a field of 2.5 hectares into horticultural production
- Make games and teaching materials in general available to the children of the nursery school
The overall aim of the intervention is to promote in the long term food self-sufficiency in the nursery school by means of formation in responsibility of the families of the children. The local partner will occupy itself with the management of the garden and of the food security of the meals. All along the mothers will be invited to follow the good growth of their little ones.

"Fondazione Don Orione" promotes social and health projects; operates in favor of the disabled, children, the elderly, women and people in a position of poverty and social marginalization; acts to ensure the education of children of groups at risk; promotes training and research in the international cooperation area.
Direct offshoot of the "Little Work of Divine Providence" - "Opera Don Orione", the Fondazione Don Orione was formed on April 17, 2003 with the intent to operate in the field of human countries in developing, supporting and sustaining the evangelization activity of the Don Orione's clergymen. It promotes social and health projects; operates in favor of the disabled, children, the elderly, women and people in a position of poverty and social marginalization, favors trainers and practitioners' training in developing countries; acts to ensure the inclusion of children in groups at risk, promotes training and research in the international cooperation area; work for the establishment of volunteer groups, ensuring their training.
The "Little Work of Divine Providence" - Opera Don Orione Male Religious Institute of Pontifical Right, the "Little Work of Divine Providence" was founded by Don Luigi Orione (Pontecurone, Alessandria 1872-1940, Sanremo). A student of John Valdocco's Don Bosco Oratory in Turin, since the years of seminar he meditated creating an institute particularly devoted to the education and care of poor, disabled and abandoned children.

The Opera Don Orione, through several houses facilities in different parts of the world, encourages and promotes self-development efforts of small communities in the poorest countries and among the populations most in need, focusing on the redevelopment of the individual and improving their living conditions, promoting basic education and vocational training.

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