Cambodia, situated in the fertile flood plains of Southeast Asia, boasts plentiful, flourishing rice fields. However, despite the easily accessible food source, unpredictable weather affecting crops and high levels of poverty result in countless rural families and children suffering from malnutrition. In 2010, 40% of children under the age of five were chronically malnourished, 28% were underweight, and 11% were acutely (severely) malnourished.
RACHA's trained volunteers and support groups work to educate families about appropriate nutritional practices and diet options available locally. Outreach activities focus on a variety of key message such as early breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding (breastfeeding in conjunction with other foods), monitoring child development, nutrition, and hygiene. Directed by RACHA staff, village health support groups (VHSGs) provide new mothers with education on pertinent nutrition concerns. RACHA has programs in rural communities that regularly screen children under five for signs of malnutrition.
At the national level, RACHA partners with health facilities and local authorities to implement large impact programs to tackle malnutrition. For example, RACHA produces and distributes Fish Sauce and Soy Sauce fortified with iron and Vitamin A; a unique and culturally appropriate approach to ensure adequate levels of essential micronutrients. Strengthening nutritional programs from both the grassroots and institutional levels, RACHA is committed to improving the nutritional status of rural communities. RACHA strives to increase access to nutrient rich foods and increase healthy living practices. RACHA has achieved much progress in promoting new behaviors, particularly in improving breastfeeding practices and complementary feeding for children 6-24 months old.
A woman works in the field behind her house in Kampot Province.