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Food Fuels Success

Every day, thousands of parents send their children to ECD facilities without any packed food. Struggling to provide, parents rely on these facilities to supply breakfast and lunch for their children.

The importance of our ECD feeding scheme was magnified during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. With all facilities closed, children were cut off from their daily meals. This left parents in a terrible predicament as their children were threatened by hunger.

Knysna Education Trust stepped up, partnering with Le Creuset; The Rotary Club of Knysna and e’Pap, to set up soup kitchens where parents could come and collect food. This supported 931 children and 126 practitioners.  

At present, we continue to work with our feeding partners (Le Creuset and The Rotary Club of Knysna) to fill as many tummies as possible. Every two weeks food vouchers are distributed to 10 facilities, feeding 150 children. These ECD facilities are provided menus, designed by a nutritionist, to help them cook food that will benefit the children the most. In addition, e’Pap supplies their nutritious breakfast, ensuring children start the day with a warm meal.

Every six months, the children are measured and weighed. The most recent sample group of 55 children showed that 100% of the children gained weight and 96% grew in height. At a time when 27% of South Africa’s children under five are stunted and 61% under five are anemic[i], it is important we expand the reach of our feeding schemes. To go hungry is emotionally damaging for children; they struggle to focus; their physical health declines and their cognitive abilities are permanently altered.[ii] Without sufficient food, some children develop attention disorders,[iii] or their IQ levels drop.[iv]

A recent case study at The University of the Witwatersrand highlighted the need for a more holistic approach in socio-economic work with children to secure a higher return on investment.i Their findings showed that when interventions focus on one aspect at a time, for example only nutrition or only education, the effect of the intervention is not as long lasting.i

As an NPO that strives to see every child have access to quality education so that they can grow into successful adults, ensuring that ECD facilities can provide nutritious meals is a fundamental step in building a brighter future and stronger economy for our community.[v]

[i] Desmond Researcher, C., & Erzse Researcher, A. (2023, January 18). Child nutrition programmes can feed inequality: Model from South Africa shows how context shapes lives. Retrieved January 24, 2023, from https://theconversation.com/child-nutrition-programmes-can-feed-inequality-model-from-south-africa-shows-how-context-shapes-lives-194096

[ii] UNICEF. (n.d.). The changing face of malnutrition. Retrieved January 24, 2023, from https://features.unicef.org/state-of-the-worlds-children-2019-nutrition/#:~:text=Malnutrition%20can%20cause%20permanent%2C%20widespread

[iii] Galler, J. R., Bryce, C. P., Zichlin, M. L., Fitzmaurice, G., Eaglesfield, G. D., & Waber, D. P. (2012). Infant malnutrition is associated with persisting attention deficits in middle adulthood. The Journal of Nutrition, 142(4), 788-794. doi:10.3945/jn.111.145441

[iv] Waber, D. P., Bryce, C. P., Girard, J. M., Zichlin, M., Fitzmaurice, G. M., & Galler, J. R. (2013). Impaired IQ and academic skills in adults who experienced moderate to severe infantile malnutrition: A 40-Year study. Nutritional Neuroscience, 17(2), 58-64. doi:10.1179/1476830513y.0000000061

[v] Stoltz, E. (2021, February 28). South African children suffer the ‘slow violence of malnutrition’. Retrieved January 26, 2023, from https://mg.co.za/news/2021-02-18-south-african-children-suffer-the-slow-violence-of-malnutrition/