HealthStart - growing strong!Date Posted: 28 December 2012
HealthStart - KOP's innovative and unique school health and nutrition programme - continues to help improve the lives of more than 2,100 primary school children every school day.
Launched in April 2012, the programme made a great start by establishing itself within the 2 pilot schools of Rabuor and Ombeyi, and by winning vital support from government departments. The daily meal that children receive is beginning to show signs of improving nutrition status, with teachers and the HealthStart team reporting an improvement in children’s health and vitality. Parents have supplied the plates so that each child has their own plate to receive their meal before they are washed and left in a multi-coloured mound to dry in the sun.
Now that the programme is firmly rooted in the life of the schools, George, Fredah, David and Timothy (the Healthstart team) are able to focus on the longer term aspects of the programme by supporting the development of plans that will see the school management committees and parents joining together to grow food to sustain the feeding programme into the future.
On a recent visit to Kenya, KOP Director Andrew witnessed at first hand the incredible post-lunch rise in energy levels at the 2 schools:
"Previously, the afternoon classes had been a difficult time for teachers for all the wrong reasons: either children were absent as they had gone out to search for food and not returned or, if they had remained, concentration was as low as their stomachs were empty. Now, seeing children fully engaged with their afternoon lessons and hearing teachers complain that now the children can be difficult to control because of their boisterous energy was a very welcome change!"
Without being too smug about it - we always knew we were onto something - but it’s great for morale when we keep coming across confirmation that HealthStart’s integrated approach is the right one. An example of this is a recent article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) ‘Treat the worms, but do other things too’ which provided evidence that de-worming without attention to proper sanitation, nutrition, and education, has no significant impact on children’s weight gain or mortality.
Healthstart has been made possible with the generous funding of Festival Republic and we'd like to say a really BIG thank you to their team in Covent Garden. "THANK YOU!"