In an endeavor to improve food security for young children, the Peninsula School Feeding Association (PSFA) in partnership with the Elgin Learning Foundation (ELF) and Sozo Food launched an Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD’s) feeding programme in Grabouw today.
We will be providing 300 underprivileged children at twelve unregistered ECD’s in Grabouw with a daily nutritious breakfast and lunch as well as cooking utensils and equipment.
The daily menu, developed by a dietician specialising in infant and child nutrition, will consist of fortified maize meal for breakfast and fish, soya mince, lentils, samp, beans, fresh fruit and vegetables for lunch.
Scientific evidence has shown that if a child suffers from under-nourishment in early development years, the effects of this are irreversible. It is important to note that the fortified maize meal supplied by Sozo Food has been scientifically formulated to address nutrient shortcomings in the diet of children, often referred to as the ‘hidden hunger’. “Hidden hunger is unlike the hunger that comes from a lack of food” says Corern Smith from Sozo Food, “but is rather a chronic lack of micronutrients which are essential for optimum physical and mental development in young children. Our aim is to reduce the impact of the ‘hidden hunger’ on children at the most vulnerable ages to stem the cycle of mental and physical underdevelopment so that each child can grow up to realise their maximum potential and contribute meaningfully”.
The maize is formulated to address key body functions and the development and maintenance of the body and muscles, contains the essential nutrients to aid in physical growth, brain development and to boost the immune system. It can promote recovery after illness and increase the body’s ability to fight infection. It increases energy levels and can reduce tiredness, and promotes physical and mental well-being.
In addition to the introduction of the daily meals, an educationally uplifting and basic infrastructure initiative has also been launched, in the form of a “kit” for each ECD. Sozo Foods will be providing each ECD with new bowls and spoons for the children and fun posters to encourage young children to wash their hands before they eat. Towels and plastic basins have been provided in the kit for washing hands. PSFA have also added cooking utensils and aprons to the kits.
The Elgin Learning Foundation (ELF) in association with the National Development Agency (NDA) provide these ECD’s with Toy Library Services, exposing the children to educational toys, stimulation, picture books and media, which will provide learning opportunities to help them to develop to their full potential.
“The vulnerable small children who come from homes who cannot always feed them the nutrients and vitamins they need will rarely reach their full potential in life. This project with all its supportive partners will make a difference to them, their communities and nationally as in achieving the Millennium Development Goals” says Mark Walker, Director of PSFA.