Unite to Fight Child Malnutrition
I attended an event aimed to fight child malnutrition. It’s the launch of “Restaurants Against Hunger,” a campaign spearheaded by Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian organization which has partnered with the Department of Health of the Philippines. Through the campaign, restaurants have come together to fight child malnutrition.
As a foodie, I’m very much willing to participate in this campaign. Most especially upon learning the work that has been done in the Philippines to fight child malnutrition. If kids suffering from malnutrition are not treated within the first 1,000 days, the damage is apparently irreversible.
The “Restaurants Against Hunger” campaign runs from October 1 to December 1, 2018. During this period, participating restaurants will be donating a portion of the sale of specially marked dishes on their menu to projects combating child malnutrition in the Philippines.
Diners can be a part of the movement to help provide food to the most disadvantaged children and their families in the country by patronizing the participating restaurants and ordering the featured dish/es labeled as “dishes that feed more”.
It was announced at the event that the participants this year are Alba Restaurante Español, Aracama, Azuthai, Café Mediterranean, Calderon, Chef Laudico OK Café, Chelsea Kitchen, Chotto Matte / Izakaya Sensu, Corner Tree Café, Cyma, Friends & Family / Coconut Club, Green Pastures, Grilla, Ikomai, Ilustrado, Kabila, Museum Café, Providore, Saboten, Sangkap, Simple Lang, Sobremesa, Terraz Bistro & Meetings, Terry’s Bistro, The Old Spaghetti House, The Shrimp Shack, Wild Ginger, and The Bistro Group.
The goal is to increase more restaurants to unite to fight child malnutrition. “We hope to sign up more before the program kicks off on October 1,” said Action Against Hunger Fundraising and Resource Development Manager Dale Nelson Divinagracia. Restaurants that wish to join can simply register at www.restaurantsagainsthungerphilippines.org. We learned that any restaurant can join and make a pledge to the campaign.
This program is very easy to implement, inexpensive and unites the restaurant staff and customers for a life-saving cause. This was attested during the launch by Chiqui Mabanta, owner and general manager of Corner Tree Café which has been supporting “Restaurants Against Hunger” since year one.
The campaign started on World Food Day in France in 1998 and has been implemented in Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Guatemala, India, Italy, Peru, Spain, United Kingdom, and the USA. In the Philippines, “Restaurants Against Hunger” is on its third year has helped make it possible for Action Against Hunger to implement several programs.
The most recent was their response to the Marawi conflict where a total of 206,613 individuals benefitted from the nutrition screening and distribution of emergency food aid and hygiene kits. The organization also provided access to safe water and sanitation facilities in the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte. Through their Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene projects in the areas of Masbate, North Cotabato and Maguindanao they have provided rural barangays access to clean water, created tap stands and toilets, and conducted hygiene promotion sessions to fight the spread of diseases that will lead to malnutrition.
A total of 180 Barangays were declared as Zero Open Defecation Communities, positively affecting 738,566 individuals. To maintain the culture of cleanliness, 730 Barangay Health Workers were trained to continue the work started. “Restaurants Against Hunger” has also funded nutrition and food security, and livelihood projects in Zamboanga City for the internally displaced people that were forced to evacuate their homes during the 2013 siege.
Based on the latest survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology, more than 3.8 million or 33.4% of Filipino children are stunted. This number is up from 30.1% in 2015. Stunting, also called Chronic Malnutrition refers to a child who is too short for his or her age. It is the result of poor nutrition during early childhood. Children suffering from stunting may never attain their full possible height and their brains may never develop to their full cognitive potential. The effects are irreversible and can last a lifetime.
These children face learning difficulties in school, get sick more often, and earn less as adults. The same survey also identified 800,000 or 7.1 percent of Filipino children to be suffering from wasting. Wasting, also called Acute Malnutrition refers to a child who is too thin for his or her height. It is the result of rapid weight loss or the failure to gain weight due to poor nutrient intake or disease. Children suffering from wasting have weakened immunity, are vulnerable to long-term developmental delays, and face an increased risk of death.
“In 2016, Action Against Hunger and the Institut de Relations Internationales et Strategiques (IRIS), an international think tank that focuses on geopolitical and strategic issues, released a study entitled “Socio-economy of Chronic Malnutrition in the Philippines: A preliminary key trends analysis by 2030” to support strategic action in fighting malnutrition in the Philippines. According to the study, the Philippines ranked 9th among countries with the highest number of stunted children,” revealed Action Against Hunger Country Director, Guy Halsey. “It’s imperative that we take steps to stop the upward trajectory of malnutrition in the country. Restaurants Against Hunger is a start and everybody can participate. We can all channel our passion for food into life-saving impact against hunger and child malnutrition,” he added.
Restaurants Against Hunger is co-presented by McCormick Culinary. Sponsors are Foodpanda, Marca Leon, and Mida Food. Supporting the campaign are the LTB Chefs Association Philippines and The Spanish Chamber of Commerce. Collaborators are Acceler8, Digital Out-of-Home Philippines, Nyxsys Philippines, Pitchworks Incorporated, and Summit Outdoor Media.
I really hope that we all unite to fight child malnutrition. During the launch, the presentation included a photo of a child who suffered from malnutrition. After treatment with Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food, the boy’s condition improved. I was so glad to see such development and that made me commit to participating even further. The Therapeutic Food provided was actually introduced about 2 years ago during the National Breastfeeding Congress as shared by a member another NGO also affiliated with the DOH.
Just in time for the Christmas season, let’s unite to help the underprivileged. There’s nothing to lose and more to gain in participating in the Restaurants Against Hunger. Let’s fight child malnutrition. To know more about the campaign, visit www.restaurantsagainsthungerphilippines.org or follow these social media accounts @RestaurantsAgainstHungerPH and @ActionAgainstHungerPH on Facebook, @RestaurantsAgainstHungerPH on Instagram and #EndHungerPH on Twitter. #RestaurantsAgainstHungerPH