Poor nutrition intake due to disease are among the top causes of growth stunting. Based on National Nutrition Council data, one in every three children in the Philippines experiences stunted growth, the fifth-highest stunting prevalence in the East Asia and Pacific Region. Stunting, especially in the first 1000 days of a child’s life, can lead to low school performance and increased chances of getting sick.
Inspired by how plants absorb vital nutrients at the roots in order to grow, the Roots to Shoots program will address growth stunting by preventing malnutrition in Bombon and Pasacao through activities related to food security, setting up WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) facilities, and conducting breastfeeding and nutrition sessions among child caregivers.
“Let's take this program seriously," Pasacao Municipal Mayor Niño Tayco remarked during launch of Roots to Shoots in his municipality. "A family's health is of the utmost importance nowadays. "
IN PHOTO: From top left, Felix Morandarte Jr. (Municipal Administrator), Melchor Baesa, MD (Municipal Health Officer), Melinda T. Sambajon (ABC President), Aurora Nora Dela Cruz (Development Management Officer (DMO) IV, DOH), Nonito M. Tolentino (Municipal Councilor, Committee Chair, Health and Nutrition), Roberto V. Dazo, (Program Manager, WVDF)
RTS’ holistic approach is supported by each foundation taking on a specific role.
PSFI leads the food security and livelihood component through the implementation of a capacity-building program which trains farmers and community members in the use of farming technologies. It also diversifies their livelihoods through finance while providing infrastructure support for community-based enterprises.
MWF, on the other hand, brings in WASH (water access, sanitation, and hygiene) interventions to respond to the need for clean water, safe sanitation, and awareness on good hygiene behaviors.
As for the nutrition education and the mother and child-care components, WVDF will administer related activities that aim to sustainably rehabilitate underweight children while also building the knowledge and skills needed to improve parenting practices at the household level.
The program launch formalized the partnership between PSFI and the two LGUs through the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA). Aside from the MOA signings, turn-over ceremonies of anthropometric measurement equipment (e.g. weighing scales, tape measure, calipers, etc.) were also held with representatives of PSFI, WVDF, and Rural Health Units present. This vital equipment will aid the local health workers in assessing and improving the nutritional and growth status of children in the communities.
IN PHOTO: From left, Dale Kevin S. Egwaras, (RTS Program Coordinator, PSFI), Judy Z. Reforma, (Municipal Health Officer, RHU Bombon), Ma. Luisa DC. Angeles (Municipal Mayor, Bombon), Roberto V. Dazo (Program Manager, WVDF)
Now more than ever, it is vital that communities build resilience against health hazards and the spread of diseases such as COVID-19. It all starts with proper healthcare and sufficient nutrition. You can learn more about the Roots to Shoots program by visiting the social media accounts of each respective organization.