Soin area of Soin/Sigowet sub-county in Kericho previously dominated news headlines due to an alarming percentage of malnourished children.
The majority of the population are women who dropped out of primary school and were married off as young as 13 years old.
With low levels of education, proper nutrition remains a mystery and this is believed to have contributed to high levels of malnutrition in the area.
The situation prompted an intervention by HANDS Kenya, a Japanese Non-Governmental Organization, whose aim is to improve the living conditions of the locals.
The Charity’s Country Director Shizuko Yagi disclosed that the NGO initiated a survey growth monitoring of children in the area. She also revealed that the organization embarked on a mission to train ECDE teachers on how to undertake measurements such as weight and height every term. They would then identify malnourished children who are subsequently linked to an area of intervention.
Keiko Kitajima, HANDS Project Manager disclosed that they first rolled out the nutrition indicator and meal monitoring in some selected 200 households and 31 schools over the last two years.
Keiko and Shizuko note that the interventions are bearing fruits and improvements have been registered when compared to the situation in the past.
Soin County Community Health Officer, Erastus Rotich observed that the project has indeed aided the community in ECDE nutrition growth monitoring, screening to identify malnourished children as well as in referring them to health facilities for intervention.
The high-ranking county official acknowledges that a majority of children had endured untold suffering yet there was no way of detecting the problem in good time. Rotich says the county in conjunction with the Japanese NGO is now giving out health supplements alongside proper health education to the affected.
According to the CEC, poorly fed children rarely do well in academics, citing science studies indicating that malnourished children’s brain memory storage capacity is greatly impaired.
Apart from addressing nutrition needs, HANDS Kenya has also built modern kitchens and set up kitchen gardens at Asenwet ECDE and Simbi ECDE in the sub-county, so as to realize a complete turnaround of fortunes of the needy.