Involving the community against hunger in Kusina ng Kalinga
MANILA, Philippines – The saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” rings true in more ways than one in several small towns in Leyte.
When Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the Visayas in November 2013, it left survivors with nothing but the clothes on their back and empty stomachs.
Malnutrition became rampant in the affected areas with over a million children at risk in the first few days following the disaster. Figures show that 6 months after Yolanda, at least 2.5 million people were prone to undernutrition. (READ: In Numbers: 6 months after Yolanda)
Almost 9 months after the super typhoon, Philippine-based Gawad Kalinga Development Foundation (GK) took a step towards ending hunger and malnutrition among children in far communities.
Kusina ng Kalinga aims to combat these problems through year-round feeding activities in various schools across the Philippines. This year, GK’s flagship program will focus on areas severely affected by Typhoon Yolanda in hopes to mitigate hunger levels among survivors. (READ: Preventing chronic malnutrition in emergencies)
The program was launched in early August 2014 in Alang-Alang, Leyte, with 1,600 children as initial beneficiaries.
More than feeding
According to GK Executive Director Luis Oquinena, Kusina ng Kalinga will foster a more personal approach in fighting hunger in several communities.
“No one is going to be left behind. We will feed the whole school or community population,” he explained. “The parents will go through GK Values Fora and are the ones empowered to run the campaign.”
Through seminars on sustainable livelihood and nutrition, community members such as parents will be able to learn ways to ensure that the program’s benefits will extend to a child’s home environment. (READ: Community-level approach: Answer to PH poverty?)
Monthly formation sessions will also be held to strengthen the bond among the community. (READ: End hunger for today's and tomorrow's generation)
The program employs a bayanihan (communal unity) system where every member of the community – parents, teachers, and even volunteers – will take part in preparing each day’s nutritious meal. Aside from central kitchen duties, they will also be in charge of the feeding operations in classrooms.
This system, according to GK, will foster a “culture of caring” for the children in the area. (READ: How to involve parents in school feeding programs)
Small cost for a brighter future
Providing a needy child with a warm meal costs P15 ($0.34*) each day or P2000 ($45) a year. With such a small amount, a child’s future can be changed for the better.
To promote and attain the healthy disposition of children, GK makes sure that each meal has the right nutrients fit for a growing child. (READ: Hungry children: What happens to their behavior?)
For the first two months, at least 3,000 children in Yolanda-affected areas will benefit from the campaign. Through the help of financial donations, GK hopes to bring Kusina ng Kalinga to more than 50,000 children in public schools and communities across the Philippines.
“One can simplify his life, spend less, so you can share more to help us feed more,” Oquinena said. – Rappler.com
*$1 = P43.6
Find out how you can help Gawad Kalinga’s fight against hunger by visiting Kusina ng Kalinga’s fundraising page here.
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