Humanitarian Outreach

Church Funds Are Curbing Malnourishment for Mothers and Children in Kenya

Super cereal and other supplements are supplying a sensible boost to immune systems

Thousands of new and expectant mothers in Kenya are benefiting from the World Food Programme’s (WFP) super cereal and other supplements that provide calories, as well as vital proteins and vitamins. These provide critical boosts to the immune system and help form protective walls against anemia.

Super cereal, a highly fortified blend of corn, soybeans, dried skim milk and sweetener, is made into a porridge by the women supported by WFP’s distribution. “It’s evident from the mothers that once they start taking the porridge there’s enough milk flow,” said Deka Hassan, a nutritionist at the government-sponsored hospital in Garissa, a growing town of nearly half a million people in eastern Kenya. “The baby is healthy, the mother is happy, and that means the community is happy also.”

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This malnutrition treatment is supplied by WFP and funded by collaborators such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church gave US$32 million to WFP last September to support the UN agency’s operations across nine countries  including Kenya. As reported in December 2022, the donation is also helping refugees find food, shelter and peace.

The donation allowed WFP to expand the nutritional treatment from 8 to 15 counties to bless more than 365,000 children and 170,000-plus pregnant and lactating women.

Fatima is one of those mothers. During an interview in early December 2022 at the Ifo Refugee Camp, she said, “When I take the porridge, I’m able to get breastmilk, [with] which I’m able to breastfeed my baby. So, my family brings me joy. I am happy with my kids, and for now we are all healthy.”

She and her children are a few of the 320,000 refugees and asylum seekers (mostly from Somalia) who call these temporary settlements (also comprising the Dagahaley and Hagadera Camps) home. Each camp was built to hold 50,000 people. Today, they house double that. They are run by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), in collaboration with organizations such as WFP and the Kenya Red Cross.

Shahmat Warsame, Garissa County nutrition coordinator, said the supplements and super cereal help people be “more successful [and] hopeful. It makes people come to the hospital and have faith that now they will get something from the hospital.”

“At the end of the day,” Warsame continued, “not only the county is supported — even the country is supported. All of Africa is supported. If we don’t have children who are severely malnourished, if we don’t have people die, then it is a success for the world.”

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