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MCNV and AFAS Foundation unite against malnutrition in Laos

On November 4th MCNV and AFAS Foundation signed a collaboration contract in Amsterdam. A contract on rural development and food security in the coming years in Laos. The AFAS Foundation supports projects in Laos with a grant of € 156,000 for the next three years.

In Nong commune, about 70 villages in the poor province of Savannakhet in Lao PDR, an alarming amount of young children are malnourished. 500 out of 7,500 children under five years have severe (acute) malnutrition and 3,000 of them are chronically malnourished. The remaining children have a daily shortage of food. The effects of malnutrition are obvious; the children develop mentally and physically inadequate. This causes many problems when they grow up.  “We are proud on our collaboration, saids Gerben Eversdijk, chair of the AFAS Foundation. For several years MCNV is working on the problems in Nong and knows what is needed to structurally improve the situation. It is great that the AFAS Foundation can take care of the financial part, so that MCNV can implement!”

in Lao PDR they are eager to start! MCNV is working in close collaboration with organizations like the Womens Union and the department of Agriculture. Together they will start Januari 1st 2017.

Now farmers get training in improving their agricultural production, for example by choosing other crops and rice varieties with higher yields. Appealing communication methods (puppetry, theater, music and sports) increase the knowledge of villagers. What is a healthy and adequate diet and why is it so important for the children? Acute malnutrition is addressed with the development of soybean products, which mothers can use in the porridge or milk to their youngest children. A successful experiment with a vegetable garden close to home will be extended to village gardens for groups of women. Home-grown fruit and vegetables can not only let their children eat healthy, but eventually also generate an additional source of income.

“the situation in this region in Lao PDR can be compared to those of Vietnam in the eighties. The large families need good and sufficient nutrition, thereby improving their overall health. Only when these basic conditions are structurally met, you can start with the economic development of the area. MCNV has projects in Laos which will eventually improve food security by developing agriculture in the area. That is not easy because of the dry, barren land in this inhospitable border region. Besides in Nong there are still many problems with unexploded bombs and shells in the ground. One of the remnants of the war in neighboring Vietnam, which these people are faced daily. “ – Karin Vlug, senior advisor fundraising & communication at MCNV