Beneficiaries: 1,496 children
Completion date: April 2024
It’s quite challenging to prepare food-safe meals for 1,496 hungry boys and girls every week when kitchen facilities are cramped; unhygienic; poorly lit and poorly ventilated; and missing essentials like a ceiling, furniture or garbage disposal. In fact, it’s a huge risk to the health of these little ones who are already living in crisis from poverty and malnutrition.
Four Compassion centres in Colombia are passionate about providing love, protection, education and guidance for their beloved beneficiaries they’ve promised to care for throughout childhood and as they enter young adulthood. But current unsanitary kitchen facilities at the four frontline churches are ill-equipped to prepare safe meals for the beneficiaries—placing them at greater risk of chronic malnutrition and vulnerability to recurrent infections. More than 1 in 10 of these 1,496 Compassion-assisted children suffer from moderate to severe malnutrition. Contaminated food and water are plaguing the children with anemia (9.4%), diarrhea (16.1%), parasitosis (7.4%) and skin diseases (11.7%).
These children and youth come from already vulnerable households in which 37.9% of parents lost their jobs during the pandemic, while many are facing economic crisis and food insecurity. Church partners are committed to fighting malnutrition and infectious diseases by prioritizing clean drinking water and sanitary food preparation—but they can’t do it alone.
This intervention will equip these four church partners to construct new kitchen facilities and water systems so they can safely prepare meals to ensure children’s minds and bodies are well nourished. Children will also receive training on good hygiene and food safety habits. Your investment will equip churches to provide critical nutrition and protection to help conquer malnutrition among at-risk boys and girls in the journey of releasing them from poverty in Jesus’ name.
Did you know?
Impoverished families in Colombia must survive on less food than they did prior to the pandemic: 92 per cent of families used to eat three meals a day, but that number has dropped to 75 per cent post-pandemic.
Planeta Rica, Puerto Libertador and Montería in the Córdoba Department of northern Colombia are home to four dedicated church partners: CO0754, CO0628, CO0756 and CO0626. But their communities are endangered by violent armed groups, conflict and displacement. Sadly, the Córdoba Department is the fifth highest department in Colombia with infant deaths due to malnutrition.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, families were supported through the churches with food packages for two years. Now that Compassion centres are open for regular programming, children are offered healthy snacks to contribute to children’s nutritional requirements. However, a study showed that the food preparation areas at these four Compassion centres are not suitable for food preparation and do not guarantee food safety. Food and nutritional safety are vital in the fight against non-communicable diseases. Constructing adequate hygienic kitchen facilities is a priority in the fight against malnutrition and anemia.
Since Compassion centres reopened in Colombia following COVID-19, centre kitchens play an even more fundamental role in nutrition, food safety and slowing the spread of disease by following biosafety protocols in food handling. But right now, four of our church partners in the Córdoba Department in the northern region of Colombia have appalling kitchen areas—some with no roofs or places to store perishable food items. These limited kitchen facilities can’t guarantee safe food or clean water. Precarious food preparation conditions have resulted in children receiving lower nutritional intake that is inadequate to meet their needs or support their holistic development. These children and youth are suffering from intestinal parasites and dermatitis caused by poor sanitary conditions and our church partners are spending much of their budgets on medical care for children plagued by preventable infections.
Four church partners in Colombia will receive funding to build hygienic kitchens, water filtration and safe water disposal systems in each of their centres. Each new kitchen facility will consist of a food preparation area, a locker room for kitchen staff, a cold room for perishable food, an area to properly organize and store inventory, two independent sinks and taps (one for washing food and the other for dishes), smooth-tiled walls that are easy to clean to reduce bacteria and non-slip ceramic floors to allow for disinfection. New water management systems will filter and purify raw water from nearby rivers to ensure it is safe for drinking and washing. Key professionals, including civil engineers, architects, master builders and health advisors, will guide the entire process.
Compassion Colombia is committed to following all food hygiene protocols and seeking professional guidance in upholding COVID-19 food handling practices and hygiene measures to help eliminate risks so children and youth can thrive. Hygiene training will help keep everyone free from preventable disease. With sanitary kitchens and water facilities our church partners can keep their promise to these precious children and youth—to support their holistic growth and development so they can flourish and overcome poverty in Jesus’ name.
What your gift will do
Your gift will equip four Compassion centres in Córdoba, Colombia, with sanitary kitchens and safe water facilities, including:
- Design sanitation and kitchen restructuring
- Preliminary work
- Building the facility structures
- Masonry and plastering
- Floors, grades, windows and baseboards
- Metal, carpentry and plating
- Hydraulic, electrical and sanitary installations
- Furniture and sanitary appliances
- Hygiene education training
- Local contribution: US$13,999.93
- Handling of funds: Compassion Colombia will work closely with the four local churches to execute the intervention and oversee the budget.
- Monitoring and follow-up: The local church and centre staff will work with engineers, master builders, architects, officials and members of the community to oversee the proper implementation of this intervention. Local health advisors will guide the churches in the health and sanitation process requirements. Church maintenance committees will receive training in all aspects of hygiene sanitation and technical infrastructure repair. They will communicate key sanitary practices and strict quality control measures with the community to ensure the health of all involved and the longevity of the new facilities.