Bolivia (MNN) — When relief and development groups step in and meet the physical and spiritual needs of communities, lives change. But what happens when the groups leave?
For example, Food for the Hungry ran child health and nutrition programs in Bolivia from 2002 to 2008. During these years, stunting among children in Bolivia's Potosi and Cochabamba areas decreased 25%.
Stunting happens when a child doesn't get the right kind of food or nutrients in their first 1,000 days of life. The damage is irreversible, and around 180 million kids under the age of five suffer from stunting worldwide.
In addition to the success in overcoming stunting, mothers seeking prenatal care rose from 50% to 84%. The number of moms who exclusively breastfed their infants increased from 67% to 93%.
According to a recent study from Tufts University, health improvements in these areas are continuing today.
Three years after that FH child health and nutrition programs ended, stunting had gone down another 15%. Mothers seeking prenatal care rose to 91%, and 100% of moms were exclusively breastfeeding their children.
"These results reflect the essence of the FH mission," says Food for the Hungry U.S. President Dave Evans. "Our role is to walk with communities to a place where they no longer need our assistance — to a destination where communities continue the process of transformation after FH has exited."
The Tufts study is the second examination of FH work in Bolivia that's having a positive impact. Earlier this month, we told you about a study examining the connection between a mother's worldview and child malnutrition. You can read about it here.
Pray that as families learn about Christ through FH, they will turn to Him for salvation.
Since 1971, FH has been walking alongside local churches, leaders and families to overcome poverty through a healthy relationship with God. Whether it's spiritual or physical hunger, FH seeks to end them worldwide through child development programs, agriculture and clean water projects, health and nutrition programs, and micro-enterprise loans.
Click here for more on how FH works in Bolivia.