The Girls' and Mothers’ Clubs- Nutrition and Health project is a program implemented by Humana People to People Belize and sponsored by the Australian High Commission. The project is targeting 4 impoverished communities in Toledo district - Indian Creek, Santa Teresa, Jordan and Aguacate- which is the least-developed region in Belize. They are all indigenous communities which faces poor nutrition. The period of the program is for one year and will improve the knowledge and habits of 40 girls and 40 mothers by educating them about reproductive health, sanitation and nutrition.
Each month, the groups will have a ‘headline’ with lessons, a school action or a community action under that headline, and /or a cooking demonstration.
The headlines in the Girl’s Clubs (among others) include: our immune system and why health matters for us all; taking good care of my teenage body; Eating nutritious food to live a good life; and staying healthy during pregnancy.
The headlines in the Mothers’ Clubs include (among others); the health system in here to be used; taking good care of my newborn child and my own body; growing nutritious food is smart; Cooking and feeding my family; Staying healthy during pregnancy; and the first two years of a child’s life.
Activities include: cooking lessons, establishing a common vegetable garden for the club members including also a covered structure; visits to the clinic; malaria/ dengue (mosquito) prevention via cleaning campaigns and spraying; awareness- raising in the community; planting Moringa Trees; establishing hand-washing facilities; household visits; and school/ community actions.
The project, that is operated under Humana People to People Belize's Child Aid Toledo project, has a project leader who work with, train, and empower the club members. Each of the 8 clubs have selected 2 club leaders who will be trained by the project leader to facilitate the lessons.
The project launch was on April 8th 2017 in Jordan Village Toledo, which welcomed approximately 300 people from the 4 targeted communities including school principals, teachers, community health workers, representative from Ministry of Agriculture, local news reporter, key leaders of the communities, family members and, of course, the members of the Clubs. In the ceremony, the project was introduced to the community members; the club members recieved their membership book and manuals, a series of entertainments took place (games for children, adults), football competition for the Girl’s club members and prices were given out to the participants.
Presently, the Mother’s clubs are focusing on the headline “Staying healthy during pregnancy” and the feedbacks from them are very positive and they are taking home the knowledge and sharing it with their daughters, granddaughters and daughters-in-law. On the other hand, the Girls’ clubs are excited in learning more about “The 10 ground rules of hygiene” despite that the knowledge imparted at home and at the primary school level is limited. During the sessions, club members share their knowledge and experiences with each other based on the topics of study; the groups are developing and new members have joined the Mothers’ club in Aguacate. The garden structures are already built in the four communities and the next step is preparing the beds for planting.