Most schoolchildren in disadvantaged communities are not getting enough calories and nutrients to fuel them for an entire school day, leading them to struggle with daily schoolwork, physical education classes, and homework.
United for Healthier Kids, an advocacy program initiated by Nestlé Philippines which helps address malnutrition in schoolchildren, has linked up with local organizations to provide volunteer and donation opportunities to individuals, groups, organizations, and businesses. These local organizations work to address various aspects of malnutrition, such as access to food, nutrition education, water, sanitation and hygiene, and nutrition in disaster.
Here are seven ways you can help fight malnutrition:
Participate in a feeding program.
Project PEARLS ([email protected]) and Reach Out and Feed Philippines ([email protected]) conduct feeding programs where volunteers can help serve food and clean up dishes afterwards.
Project PEARLS supplements its feeding programs with reading, toy library, and tutorial sessions, while Reach Out and Feed Philippines holds nutrition sessions and monthly check-ups. Both organizations welcome volunteers as well as cash and in-kind donations to help support its feeding programs.
You can also volunteer to help Children’s Hour (0917-5935161) which supports the Christian Mission Service Philippines’ daily feeding program for kids aged six to 18 years old.
Bring water filters to remote communities.
Those looking to combine their love for the mountains and the oceans with helping others can volunteer with Waves for Water ([email protected]) which works to provide access to clean water by providing water filtration systems and rainwater harvesting systems to underserved communities. Through its Clean Water Couriers program, volunteers are encouraged to pack and bring a few filters to a less-privileged community.
Build and maintain a school garden.
East-West Seed Foundation ([email protected]) builds and maintains gardens in public schools through its Oh My Gulay!–Tanim sa Kinabukasan program. Volunteers can participate in activities such as designing containers, setting up container gardens and planters, and transplanting vegetable seedlings. The foundation is currently accepting volunteers for its Ifugao, Makati, Malabon, Valenzuela, Batangas, and Bulacan locations, and can cover 10-20 volunteers for each school partner.
Help establish a school or community kitchen.
Gawad Kalinga’s Kusina ng Kalinga program ([email protected]), Reach Out and Feed Philippines, and Advancement for Rural Kids ([email protected]) build kitchens for communities willing to invest in a long-term solution to malnutrition. This is done in partnership with a local religious, civic, or non-governmental organization. Volunteers and donors can help start a kitchen in their neighborhood and maintain it after it’s been built.
Build water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in schools.
The Philippine Red Cross ([email protected]) distributes hygiene kits and builds water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in schools. Volunteers can support these WASH programs by raising funds to build more WASH facilities in schools, or by volunteering for the Philippine Red Cross’ Children’s Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation program where children learn the basics of hygiene and sanitation, supplemented by peer-to-peer sessions and extra-curricular activities.
Help educate parents and guardians on proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle.
Children’s Mission Philippines ([email protected]) has a Community Nutrition Program. Volunteers can help curb malnutrition by conducting cooking sessions together with the parents, giving lessons about cheap, nutritious, and healthy food to parents and guardians, and teaching them how to purify their drinking water.
Tell an organization’s story on social media.
These organizations are present on social media and would appreciate a boost every now and then. Documenting your volunteer experience through blog posts, photos, and videos will help get the word out about their work to more people, particularly to potential donors.
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