Thursday, October 16, 2008
World Food Day
Today is World Food Day. The aim of the Day is to heighten public awareness of the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
As I was reading about World Food Day, I came across an interesting project that ADRA was unveiling. The project, which is expected to feed an expected 280 schoolchildren for at least one school year and have sufficient product to sell to the community as a sustainable enterprise, will provide a VitaGoat soymilk-processing system to a rural community of northern Ghana. Operated without the need for any electricity supply or generator, the VitaGoat uses locally available fuels, including wood or other biomass, or bottled gas, for cooking. Project funding will also provide training to VitaGoat operators and a one-year supply of soybeans for use in the project. The project, estimated at $75,000, is expected to begin in January 2009.
"Our partnership with the World Soy Foundation has been very beneficial, with our ongoing school feeding programs creating a positive impact on school enrollment, attendance, and the health of the children in the communities where we work," said Dr. William Brown, country director for ADRA Ghana.
Providing soy-based meals to children has improved school performance among students, according to Brown. Prior to the implementation of the school feeding projects, many children experienced headaches, complained of hunger, and displayed a lack of focus, often forcing teachers to dismiss classes early. The protein-rich meals are boosting the nutritional status of children, balancing out the primarily carbohydrate-based meals they eat at home.
"Now the children can have food to eat, and are able to continue to study because now they can concentrate," said Brown.
ADRA and the World Soy Foundation first began working together in 2006 in a school-feeding project worth more than $20,000 that benefitted some 300 children. In April 2008, ADRA received an additional $4,000 donation, which initiated the second phase of the project.
The World Soy Foundation is a charitable organization that partners with private voluntary and non-governmental organizations to deliver soy protein and nutrition education to people who need it around the world.
ADRA has been active in Ghana for 20 years, focusing on development work in health care, education, agriculture, food security, water and sanitation, resource management, infrastructure construction, HIV and AIDS, and microfinance activities.
ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race, or ethnicity.
Additional information about ADRA can be found at www.adra.org