Milk supplementation carried out for daycare children in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija and Talibon, Bohol for 120 days proved to achieve significant results.
Evaluation of the outcome of the program showed that none of the previously reported 123 underweight children in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija remained malnourished after the milk supplementation. On the other hand, the number of underweight daycare children in Talibon, Bohol decreased from 309 to 222 after the program.
It was also revealed that there was a significant difference in the anthropometric measurements (weight and height) of the schoolchildren before and after the milk supplementation. Daycare children in Aliaga and Talibon gained an average weight of 3.23kg and 1.56kg, respectively; and grew by 4.85 cm and 4.34 cm in that order.
The pilot collaborative program of PCC and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), titled “Pilot Nutrition and Livelihood Interventions through a Milk Supplementation Program under the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP)”, was completed last May. It consisted of two components: milk supplementation and livelihood.
The milk supplementation component aimed to improve the height and weight of the children using the Child Growth Standard (CGS) by providing them with 200ml of toned milk for 120 days. It was in addition to the daily regular meals they received under the Supplementary Feeding Program of DSWD.
The livelihood component, on the other hand, aimed to improve the socioeconomic conditions of sustainable livelihood program (SLP) beneficiaries or poor, smallholder-dairy farmers with the acquisition of profit-generating enterprises or employment in carabao-based enterprises (CBEs).
It also targeted to help the dairy farmers in marketing their carabao’s milk and to encourage partnerships among other institutions.
“Milk supplementation program is important for the development of the local dairy industry. Through our partnership, we have seen the importance of tapping other agencies to meet our development objectives not only in improving the nutrition of children of rural farming families but also in increasing the income of dairy farmers”, Dr. Arnel del Barrio, PCC executive director, said during the recent joint program evaluation workshop on the completed pilot milk supplementation project.
During the evaluation workshop, each region presented and discussed how the program was implemented in its area of coverage. It also tackled the results, issues and concerns, as well as recommendations they encountered.
Each case was further evaluated by the regional teams using SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis.
“It was proven that PCC is a good partner to DSWD, therefore, we will definitely continue partnering with you. Based on the presentations, the expected outcome was met. However, we need to rethink of a strategy to meet the desired livelihood outcome. We can develop and propose a separate guideline for this (carabao-based) business module based on the context of carabao value chain,” Ms. Amada Pornaras, DSWD SLP Director, said. “I also want to recognize the support given by the LGU for this initiative,” she added.
One of the program participants, Evangeline Mercado, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer I in Aliaga, also shared her feedback, saying:
“We’ve seen the importance of the program considering that it helped address malnutrition by totally eradicating the incidence of being underweight among daycare children in our town.”