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Improving Nutrition in Children at the Virgen de Guadalupe School in Cusco, Peru.

Food insecurity in the world has been increasing, a situation that has worsened due to the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis due to the “Ukrainian War” is exacerbating this situation due to the exaggerated inflation of food and fuel prices and the shortage of fertilizers, which, added to the effects of climate change, does not allow us to think about a quick improvement.

These challenges affect the population unequally and have a greater impact on populations in poverty and with various vulnerabilities, such as pregnant women, girls, boys, adolescents, older adults, indigenous people, migrants, people with disabilities, etc. This situation is repeated in Peru, where we face a “triple burden of malnutrition” such as the coexistence of malnutrition, anemia and obesity or overweight at the population, family and individual level.

In Peru, 51% of the population is food insecure. 47.5% of them are moderately food insecure, that is, they have significant deficiencies in food consumption, they satisfy their minimum food needs using irreversible coping strategies. 3.5% are severely food insecure, meaning they do not have access to enough safe and nutritious food to lead an active or healthy life, or they suffer from extreme livelihood depletion.

This nutrition project is made possible by the generosity of the Pietro Ruggeri charity.

Sign of the school

Colegio Virgen de Guadalupe

The public primary school is located on the outskirts of Cusco in the Huayracpunco area, where 130 students who are between 5 - 12 years old attend. The majority live in the neighborhoods surrounding the school, where the infrastructure and economic conditions of the inhabitants of this area are very poor. There is a direct relationship between poverty and the lack of good education and access to the health system. As a consequence, the lack of information on basic nutrition.

freshly cookes local food with quinoa

The Challenge

Within the school facilities there is a kitchen and a cook. Most of the food they prepare are carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes and noodles. In addition, corruption makes the portions that each of the 130 schoolchildren receive even smaller. Inside the schools there are small kiosks where they sell junk food. Also, outside of school, small grocery stores only offer junk food. This, thanks to the demand of students, who prefer this type of food due to its high sugar and flour content.

Promotion talk about fresh and healthy nutrition

Objectives & Activities

Improve the quality and quantity of food consumed at school. This way, students will be more satisfied and won't feel like buying more junk food. Another activity is to buy quality foods at the local market, including foods with high nutritional content, fruits and vegetables. Twice a month we carry out nutrition activities and health promotion talks for teachers, parents and students. For the project to be sustainable, we carry out Monitoring and Evaluation, to improve the outcome.

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