1 in 4 Haitian children is malnourished. 1 in 14 will not live to see their 5th birthday. These are the sobering facts facing families in communities across Haiti. The nation of Haiti has witnessed no shortage of trauma over the years. An earthquake in 2010 killed over 220,000 people and devastated cities and villages. Political and economic turmoil following the tragedy have been constants and have been exacerbated by global events including the pandemic and global food crisis.
But for 20 years, through an abundance of challenges, Alliance to End Hunger member Meds & Food for Kids (MFK) has provided lifesaving relief to hundreds of thousands of kids, and has promoted a holistic model that empowers farmers, factory workers, and clinicians. Over 800,000 kids have been successfully treated with what is known as “ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF).” RUTF foods are developed to treat severe malnutrition and is fundamental in saving the lives of countless kids across the globe. Over 45 percent of childhood deaths globally are related in some way to malnutrition, and RUTF is key to lowering this devastating statistic.
Beyond the proven potential of RUTF, Meds & Food for Kids strives to engage entire communities in their endeavor. This is no more evident than through their latest production facility in Haiti. Based in Cap-Haitien (a port city on the Northern coast of Haiti), MFK’s Solar Project was recently completed in early 2023. The factory runs on self-generated solar power, which protects it from the uncertainties of the local power grid or relying on diesel – which is expensive and scarce. Construction was carried out by local contractors and companies.
MFK partners with local farmers and universities to boost both research, agricultural projects, and production. MFK purchases local peanuts for use in the production of RUTF. Thanks to the shift to solar power, MFK has nearly tripled RUTF production from 2022 levels. Further, the World Food Programme has taken notice of MFK programs aimed at agricultural development and hopes to partner with MFK in order to disseminate similar programs throughout the country.
As with many organizations working in Haiti, MFK continues to seek additional opportunities for capacity building, and welcomes potential partnerships to meet the growing needs of children and families in Haiti. With expanded production MFK is expanding capacity and growing its team to reach more clinics, work with more farmers, partner with more schools, and build more overall community relationships to save more lives.