The last few months with Manna Project International (MPI) have been such a whirlwind! It has been such an incredible experience leading the Child Sponsorship and Nutrition (CS) program in the community of Villa Guadalupe. To provide some context, Villa Guadalupe is situated on the outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua and was established as a collaboration between the Nicaraguan and Spanish governments to close La Chureca. This humanitarian project provided housing for 258 families from an informal community housed in Latin America’s previously largest municipal trash dump, and approximately 700 families needing resettlement following two large floods in 2010 and 2011. My primary role as a Senior Director with MPI is to lead six Program Directors and work with our local clinic staff to run our nutrition program. I would like to highlight two exciting aspects of the program from the past months.
Many of the children and families in our program suffer from parasites due to unclean food and water sources. We run a de-parasiting project twice a year to offer a treatment option for our families who may otherwise not be in the position to afford the medication. Parasites can lead to unhealthy weight loss, which can be detrimental to the children in our nutrition program. I led a de-parasiting campaign in November and had 100% participation from our families. To provide some perspective, we reached 42 households. 243 Individuals received the de-parasiting medicine series. To break it down even further, 98 children, 64 youth, and 81 adults participated in our project. Our gender breakdown was nearly equal, with 121 females and 122 males receiving treatment.
In the month of February, we had four children graduate from our nutrition program! We monitor the children’s hemoglobin levels as well as their rate of growth. Based on such data, our nutritionist determines which children are ready to be graduated. Our team was excited to graduate four children during the month of February and celebrated their successes with balloons and certificates! It is such a joy to see our children grow and graduate from our program.