In a robust demonstration of cooperation, representatives of the Cameroonian government, local chiefs, parents and members of the community at large showed up in large numbers for a festive official kickoff of the McGovern-Dole/ ALIGN (Advancing Literacy with Good Nutrition) program on May 6th 2016.
Cameroon has been ranked by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization as a low income food-deficit country. In real terms this means that 36% of Cameroonian children under the age of five are stunted, 16% underweight, and 7% wasted. Rates of anemia among preschool aged children are very high, 40% are deficient in
vitamins and half lack access to iodized salt leaving them vulnerable to iodine deficiency disorders. And most are susceptible to dysentery and other diseases of poor sanitation and unclean water. These are the sad circumstances behind the rallying of the masses in support of this USDA and Nascent Solutions to begin to address these shortcomings. In a show of communal optimism, parents and women’s groups danced and sang. School Children performed songs and skits and played traditional instruments. Queuing up in orderly lines to sample the food and nourishment the program will bring to them on a daily basis.
MGD/ALIGN will provide warm nutrient balanced meals in schools to children who otherwise would go hungry. The program’s fore-runners have been setting up school gardens, tended by members of the community, parents and students themselves to buttress their food needs. MGD/ALIGN is further constructing hand-washing stations, gender assigned bathrooms and classrooms to put in place the tools necessary to give the world’s most marginalized children a chance in a competitive world. The program’s launching in IPS Njombo showcased these new amenities. Which in the end will include a clean-water well driven by a solar pump to further guarantee water access. In total USDA and NSI’s program will impact the lives of 32,000 children.
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