Fabretto: Nutrition and Education Combatting Poverty & Hunger in Nicaragua
April 1, 2014
Anina Hewey and Diana Corrales, Fabretto Children’s Foundation
Fabretto Children’s Foundation, a 501©3 nonprofit organization working in Nicaragua, is committed to reaching one of the most fundamental UN Millennium Development Goals, Erradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger, through education and nutrition programs.
We believe that education is a sustainable solution that empowers community members to lift their families out of poverty. Our five key program areas—Early & Primary Education, Secondary Education, Nutrition, Vocational Skills, and Community Development—work together to alleviate poverty and support over 12,000 children and youth in Nicaragua. This holistic response addresses current needs while also creating lasting change through educational initiatives.
Fabretto supports the most vulnerable, underserved communities in Nicaragua. Rural communities feel the effects of poverty most, with 63% of the nation’s poor and 78% of the extreme poor. Nationwide, just 56% of children reach the sixth grade and 22% of children under five suffer from growth stunting, and both percentages are much higher in at-risk communities. Although fruits and vegetables grow easily and abundantly, the local diet usually consists of just rice and beans. Many children suffer from “hidden hunger,” lacking essential micronutrients they need to grow and thrive.
In this context, education and basic resources have an enormous impact. Fabretto has strategically designed each of the following activities to address the root causes of poverty and hunger.
School Meals: In collaboration with local public schools, Fabretto serves a fortified daily meal to over 10,000 children each day. School meals treat and prevent child malnutrition while improving academic performance and providing a strong incentive for parents to send children to school. As a result, in 2013, 94% of primary-age children in our programs successfully finished and passed their grade level.
Sustainable Resources: Fabretto promotes school and family gardens to enrich the local diet and serve as hands-on learning environments. In 2012-2013, Fabretto helped build over 240 school gardens that impact thousands of children each day with nutritious, fresh foods in school meals. Students and parents also learn about nutrition and gardening techniques through interactive lessons that help them construct their own gardens at home. These activities improve long term food security and support the family economy, as families reduce food expenses by supplementing meals with foods grown in gardens.
Community Knowledge: Parents play an integral role in Fabretto’s nutrition programs. Last year, over 1,000 parents volunteered to cook school meals, tend community gardens, and support school activities. In addition, over 2,800 parents participated in interactive workshops on best practices to support child nutrition, health, and hygiene. In addition, Fabretto’s secondary education programs teach youth about sustainable agriculture to develop knowledge for future generations.
Fabretto’s programs help community members become healthy, informed agents of change who are empowered to reduce hunger and lead their communities to a better future.