Lunch is Served: A Growth Evaluation

October 26, 2015

Kianna Noonan, Convoy of Hope

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that there are nearly 800 million hungry people in the world. Most of them live in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Students throughout the world receive lunch at school and enjoy it because it serves as a time to fill bellies, hang with friends and take a break from the busy schedule of a school day. But what about those kids whose days revolve around meals because it may be the only one they get all day? That’s where Convoy of Hope comes in.

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Courtesy: Convoy of Hope

Convoy of Hope’s Children’s Feeding Initiative gives kids in 10 countries around the world the opportunity to receive proper nourishment through nutrient rich foods. The most obvious outcome is one less hungry child, yet additional benefits come with providing sustainable foods. Weight gain and height growth are tracked by Convoy of Hope’s Monitoring and Evaluating (M&E) team to ensure the food is helping kids grow properly. Measurements for height and weight were taken in 2014 and are being taken again this year to track the development among children in the feeding initiative. Grace Heymsfield recently visited Haiti to help with the measurement process. While there, Heymsfield and the M&E team ran into a few challenges. “Some issues were quickly recognizable,” says Heymsfield. “Where there is one child named ‘Mackenlove’ or ‘Jean Pierre’, there are about twenty others.” This challenge, among others, does not deter Heymsfield from striving to reach her goal of gathering the “end result” measurements that were started in 2014. She says she can always find a greater purpose for her work. Giving children nutrient-rich foods does not only help them grow, but also gives them a better chance of doing well in school. When a child is given the opportunity to grow, become stronger, and focus in school because of the food provided to them, every trial that accompanies the process becomes worth it. “We learned to find beauty in the challenges and adapt to different situations,” Heymsfield claims. “At the end of the day, I think the whole team felt a sense of a job well done.” A job well done will ensure children in Nicaragua, Haiti and all over the world have a good meal, which will help them stay focused in school and grow into healthy young adults. While a number like 800 million can be overwhelming, Convoy of Hope believes that we can put an end to world hunger in our generation — one child at a time.