volunteer from New Mexico
Peru | Healthy, Strong, and Intelligent Children
volunteer from New Mexico
The community garden was formed under the idea to empower every family with children under 3 years old. The Peace Corps volunteer and his community work partners would like to start this community garden for those families of Ancash with children under 3 years old. There are 20 families who have expressed a strong interest in helping us achieve our goal that by November 2017, the community will have reduced the incidence of anemia and chronic mal nutrition in those children less than 3 years of age. Ancash has the nutritional problem that one in every ten children under the age of 5 has anemia and furthermore; one in every 9 children under the age of three is malnourished. In this project each participating family will be responsible to take care of and control their own piece of land that will be provided for them from the local Health Center. The Local Health Center has 0.1 acres of land available to be used by the families participating in the program. The available land is full of rocks, dying trees and an inconvenient hill that makes navigating the area difficult. The municipality is in full support of the project and is willing to help the project succeed in any way that they can. They have promised the Peace Corps volunteer and the health center support in the cleaning of the land and construction of a wall around the perimeter of land for security from animals and people. Support from the entire community is key to make this project succeed.
The community garden will be open daily from the hours of 8 am to 2 pm. These are the hours that the health professionals in the health center are working so they also can help the families with any questions they have about the garden. During these hours the families will be able to come in to cultivate and take care of their plants and vegetables. The families will be provided with a wide range of vegetable seeds to help them start their garden. The seeds will include plants such as carrots, lettuce, tomato, beets, parsley, spinach, broccoli, squash, and various beans. All these are plants that grow well in the climate that surrounds the district. Due to economic struggles the families can't afford these nutrient rich vegetables to help feed their children. The volunteer of the Peace Corps and his work partners know that foods such as vegetables and beans are rich in many nutrients such as iron that will help a great deal to fight the anemic problem in the children under 3 years of age. Each participating family will receive enough of these seeds to grow the plants in their provided space of the community garden for at least three harvest seasons or one year. The hope is that if nature permits the families will be able to plant and harvest their plants every three months. After three months when the plants are ready to be harvested the families will take everything that they have grown to their house and use it to feed their families.
The health center will also do its part to help educate the families to learn better ways to prepare the foods in their home through educational sessions in the local of the health center. The educational sessions will happen once a month where the families are able to go to the health center and help prepare a meal using similar foods to those that are being grown in the community garden. Here they will learn things such as a balanced plate with all the food groups necessary to have a healthy diet; the correct consistency of the food based on the age of their child; and the correct amount the children need to be eating based on their age. The volunteer for the Peace Corps and his community work partners hope that after the 7 months of this project the children of Ancash will start to recuperate and the incidence rate of anemia and malnutrition will start to decrease.