Holt’s nutrition and health programs director, Emily DeLacey, shares the top five ways Holt donors help children receive the nutritional support they need to grow up healthy and strong.
Good nutrition is essential. But when children are malnourished, especially during key windows in their development, it can permanently impact them. Poor nutrition affects children’s physical growth and brain development, and can exacerbate any existing special needs or developing special needs, such as rickets. The long-term consequences of poor childhood nutrition include poor mental development, non-communicable diseases, poor school achievement, reduced economic productivity, and risky future pregnancies and malnourished babies.
But with the generous support of donors, Holt is working to eliminate malnutrition in all its forms for the children and families in our programs!
Here are the top 5 ways Holt’s donor-supported child nutrition program helps children grow healthy and strong:
1. Micronutrient and Deworming Campaigns
Every year, Holt leads campaigns to help address any nutrient deficiencies children or pregnant women have in addition to treating them for parasites, which can sap essential nutrients from their bodies. In multiple villages in Uganda, for example, Holt’s on-the-ground teams host child health days throughout the year for children and families in hard-to-reach areas. These health days ensure all children receive essential supplements and deworming — no matter how remote! In total, Holt provided over 100,000 doses of supplements, such as prenatal vitamins and vitamin A, to pregnant women and children in 2020 — supporting healthy pregnancies and giving children the best start in life!
2. School Meal Programs
Children cannot learn if they are hungry. To address this need, Holt donors provide tens of thousands of meals to children each year! For many children, the lunch they eat at school is the only consistently nutritious meal they receive each day. This good nutrition enables them to learn and grow!
3. Clean Water
Around the world, Holt is actively working to ensure children and families have access to clean water. In many countries, children frequently get sick from drinking water with parasites in them, which causes infections and diarrhea and further saps their bodies of essential nutrients. But with donor support, Holt’s child nutrition program has worked to create clean water access points at schools in countries from Ethiopia to Haiti, ensuring children are able to drink clean, safe water and regularly wash their hands!
4. Malnutrition Screening
One of the most effective ways Holt works to prevent and treat malnutrition is through frequent health screenings of children. These health screenings enable health care providers to identify children at risk or those already malnourished so they can treat them early and effectively. The sooner the treatment, the sooner children are back to feeling energetic and growing to their full potential. Through the generosity of donors, Holt’s teams on the ground have been able to screen more than 95,000 children in the last year alone!
5. Nutrition Training and Education
Some children, such as infants or children with disabilities, need additional support to safely eat and drink. Through our child nutrition program, Holt donors help to provide high quality training for caregivers and families — empowering them with the resources they need to fully support children so they may safely enjoy meals and receive optimal nutrition. More than 7,500 children in six countries have benefited from this life-changing program!
Emily DeLacey | Nutrition and Health Programs Director