Quantity and Quality
When I Was Hungry
Teach A Man To Fish

Getting enough of the right foods

Hunger and malnutrition are complex problems.  Children and pregnant women are the most vulnerable.  Their diets are mostly comprised of beans, rice and tortillas.  During non-harvest months, many families do not eat every day.  The children's diets lack quantity as well as quality of foodstuffs. Insufficient caloric intake, protein and vitamin/mineral deficiencies all play huge roles in diseases processes such as anemia, suppressed immune systems and the various mal-nutritive states of Marasmus and Kwashiorkor.  Also complicating matters are the difficulties of proper food preparation due to contaminated water and lack of refrigeration. (No electricity is available in this region.)  Furthermore, there are the additional health/nutritional issues brought about by often times heavy parasite infestation.

the value of Variety

Many fruits and vegetables are grown in the project's gardens.  Part of the produce is given to the grade school to support the school lunch program and the other part is available for trade.  A variety of methods are utilized, all of which can be reproduced by local villagers.  Waste from the chickens and pigs is composted with other organic materials such as coffee pulp to provide an organic solution to soil nutrient deficiencies.  Tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, squash, mustard greens and radishes are among some of the vegetables produced by the project.  Seeds, starter plants and technical support are also available to those who wish to start their own gardens.

One might ask why the poor have not been raising their own food all along.  There are many reasons why people abandoned cultivation.  Some of the reasons have to do with the changeover from a barter/trade system to a cash system.  Other reasons have to do with poor soil quality, insects and other pests as well as lack of technical services.   It is our hope to combat malnutrition through education and promoting cultivation.

Combating malnutrition

Fellow Man International combats disease caused by malnutrition through an intensive agricultural project. This project is dedicated to better nutrition for those who are malnourished by providing healthy foods, coordinating their distribution and offering technical assistance to those in need.

Marasmus and Kwashiorkor

There are two very distinct manifestations of malnutrition that are encountered on a fairly regular basis.  Marasmus generally refers to an extreme lack in calories often beginning before twelve months of age.  Mothers who do not produce enough breast milk often times give their baby rice water with sugar because they can not afford to buy formula.

Kwashiorkor refers to severe protein deficiency.  This often occurs after weaning between the ages of 18 to 24 months.  If left untreated, it can cause the child to have a swollen abdomen, edema, hair loss and a lowered immune system.  This severe form of malnutrition can permanently affect growth and intellectual development.  It can even lead to death in the most extreme of cases.   To avoid these heartbreaking conditions, early detection and intervention are key.           

Missing Protein

Protein is one of the most frequently missing dietary components. The poor are forced to omit protein from their diets simply because it is cost prohibitive.  The agriculture project produces over two hundred 3.5 lb to 4.0 lb chickens every three weeks to help feed the hungry and to support the school lunch program. 

The project also has over one hundred laying hens which provide eggs for the school children and villagers.  The cost of eggs has risen sharply in Honduras over the last year from only one lempira (approximately $0.05) to over three lempiras per egg.  People are also encouraged to keep back yard flocks of their own laying hens and are educated about the value of complete proteins in their diets.

Certainly pork is an expensive meat to produce.  Most people do not eat meat more than once or twice a month.  A limited amount of pork is produced by the agriculture project to provide meat to the grade school for the lunch program as well as offered at the trade store.  One reason for raising pigs in a demonstration farm setting is to show villagers the value of penning their livestock.  Trichinosis is a health problem in the service area, therefore villagers are encouraged to pen their pigs to avoid exposure to such harmful parasites.

  Our Solution

Clients of the agriculture project are instructed in a variety of agriculture techniques. They are encouraged to exchange their excess cultivated fruits and vegetables for meat, eggs, and milk products offered through the project's barter system / trade store.

Our barter system / trade store provides several sources of protein including: eggs, chicken meat, and pork. Dairy products such as butter, cheese, and whole milk are also available.