“Today in Ghana, around one in five children suffer from chronic malnutrition. This rises to one in every THREE in the Northern region where we work.” – Paul Maxwell-Rose, Co-Director (Programmes), CHIPS*.
Heartbreaking signs every day
As we meet communities on both sides of Northern Ghana’s ethnic divide, we’re regularly confronted with the signs of child malnutrition.
Underdeveloped children, too short for their age. Mentally impaired minds that will never reach full potential. Frail bodies – sometimes with weak legs and distended stomachs – struggling to recover from common infections.
Concerned parents tell us they don’t know what’s wrong with their children. It’s typically seven miles on foot to a doctor. Health centres often lack the capacity to take them on and another charity working on malnutrition folded recently. Too often, the child remains untreated or given ineffective home remedies or spiritual healing.
We need to act now
These children will face serious consequences for the rest of their lives. Some will struggle to earn an income to help lift their families out of poverty and the cycle of conflict. Others will die before they reach adulthood.
Thanks to our training and partnership with local charity partner NESO, we are able to spot the signs of malnutrition. But limited resources mean we can't always help.
“We’re already working to tackle malnourishment where we can"says Desmond Mpabe, our Ghana Team Leader. "But we’ve felt that God is calling us to do more. As the effects of Coronavirus begin to hit the economy, this problem will only grow worse. We believe we need to act now.”
Tabir's story: giving a child a future
Tabir's distended stomach shows the tell-tale signs of chronic malnutrition, but now he and his family are receiving the support they need.
Tabir is three years old. His parents were deeply concerned when he didn’t grow as expected. They desperately looked for help but the local health centre couldn’t take them on. And when they consulted a community seer, he said the child is cursed and has no future.
Tabir’s parents have been blessed with two sons, but life is not easy. His father labours hard in their farming community but struggles to put enough food on the table.
We spotted the signs of malnutrition and worked alongside the family to provide high-nutrient porridge and show them how to make it themselves. Tabir is now returning to health. Each time we see him, his young body has developed a little more. His parents say they are thankful to God because they now know Tabir DOES have a future!
Can you help us tackle child malnutrition and build peace?
It doesn’t have to be like this. By working with families to take action early, we can ensure more children grow into healthy adults. However, we need your help!
Your support would allow us to partner sustainably with more communities by:
- Making nutrient-rich porridge packs for parents to feed to their little ones, using locally-available raw ingredients.
- Training parents to make the porridge themselves, taking them to grinding mill to make porridge together and showing how to prepare it over a fire.
- Providing education on malnourishment and healthy diets along with follow-up sessions to weigh and monitor children.
CHIPS team member Timothy providing high-nutrition porridge and advice to a family together with our partners at NESO.
Following the same principles as our other projects, this work will also help build peace across the region's ethnic divides.
Bringing together groups from both sides for training, the project will help people break down barriers and build new friendships. Our mixed-tribe CHIPS team will lead by example of how former enemies can live and work together. And by helping children develop into healthy, working adults it will help reduce poverty – a key root cause of conflict.
Your gift can make a big difference!
£10 could get a child like Tabir started with a month's supply of high-nutrition porridge. £50 could pay for a community follow up visit to monitor children’s progress. And £100 could train ten families on how to prepare their own food.
Alternatively, by giving £10 a month, you could support a malnourished child like Tabir through to healthy adulthood. £20 a month would support his brother too. To make a monthly gift, visit chipspeace.org/donate and enter the project code CHILD when prompted.
Please donate to our project if you are able and share our appeal. We are truly grateful for your support.
Our high nutrition porridge packs include locally-available raw ingredients such as maize, soya beans and peanuts.
You can read more about CHIPS' work in Ghana at chipspeace.org/Ghana
The above are estimates of what your donation could achieve, given for illustration. They include the cost of treatment and our costs to deliver the project.
In the unlikely event that we raise more than we need, we'll allocate your one-off or regular gift to our other work with families in Ghana.
Names, photos and personal stories have been anonymised and blended.