With a huge smile on her face, Fidelia Lopez, 34, says her 19-month-old son, Osman David, is no longer undernourished.
Fidelia and Osman David live in the village of Las Pavas, Santa Maria, in the department of La Paz, Honduras. Osman currently weighs 10 kilos. His health and weight have improved greatly since he and his mother began receiving food assistance and health services from the CIDA-funded project to reduce child and maternal malnutrition.
"I am very grateful for the help that they have given us," says Fidelia. "I have seen how he has grown and gotten fatter, now that I receive this food."
A few years ago, Fidelia moved to Tegucigalpa to work as a domestic. Of the money she earned, she sent half back to her grandparents who raised her and saved the rest to buy land and build a home of her own. When she became pregnant, she returned to Las Pavas, and, with great effort, built a house out of mud. She now works as a coffee cutter, earning between $2 and $5 a day. She does not have electricity in her new home and borrows water from her neighbour because she cannot afford to pay for the water connection to her house (approximately $160).
The goal of this project, implemented by the World Food Programme and the Honduran Ministry of Health, is to improve the nutritional status and food security of the poorest people in southwestern and southern Honduras. Rural health centres supported by the project offer basic nutritional training to pregnant and lactating women and distribute household food rations monthly to help families meet nutritional needs. In 2009, more than 6,000 people benefitted from this project.
"Thanks to all the organizations and countries that help us. This project is a blessing for us," says Fidelia.
This project contributes to CIDA's priority theme of securing the future for children and youth. To find out more, consult the project profile in the Project Browser web application, the most complete source of information about CIDA-funded projects.
The village of Los Planes is fortunate to have a health centre available for its surrounding 3,728 residents, including 176 children under the age of five suffering from severe malnutrition.
"I am very happy we have this program," says Etelvina Caliz, a local health volunteer. For the past three years, Etelvina has been a health monitor, travelling to different communities in the area, measuring the weight and height of the children and training women in how to better feed themselves and prepare for childbirth. The area has one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the country.
Adds Etelvina: "We are aware that this assistance will not last forever, so we are training our women to be able to do it themselves some day when this program is no longer here to help us."