A Grandmother and Village Health Volunteer Team Up to Help a Toddler Grow Strong and Healthy

CWS Cambodia | August 19, 2018

Parents bring their kids to feeding sessions to help improve the kids’ health and their own knowledge. Photo: CWS

San’s granddaughter is now gaining weigh and rarely gets sick these days. Photo: CWS

Oeun E is the Village Health Volunteer of Sophy village in western Cambodia. E lives with his wife and their four children, ages 16 to 19, two of whom are in secondary school. Unfortunately, the other two dropped out of school and help the family earn money with farm work. Besides being committed to helping his own family through hard work as a farmer, E is passionate to help his community. A few years ago, because of his family’s difficult financial situation, E was invited to join CWS-organized community development activities and, after some simple education and training, he started working as a Village Health Volunteer. In this role, E supports mothers and other child caregivers in Sophy to learn about child health and nutrition, and he works with Health Center staff to support young child growth monitoring every quarter during nutrition promotion and supplemental feeding sessions. For E, the educational and practical (feeding) sessions come together when he shares recipes and advice about cooking nutrient-rich porridge from local ingredients, and during hygiene lessons where moms show they know how to feed their babies in a healthy, clean environment. Talking to CWS staff recently, E said, “I want to see all the children in my village grow healthy, so having better hygiene will help. I especially want all mothers and caregivers to have a good understanding good nutrition practice and basic health protective behavior.”

One of E’s “students” is Chib San, a 62-year-old grandmother who is primary caregiver for her 2-year-old granddaughter while the baby’s parents have migrated to work in another province. When CWS staff first met her, San said that she has heard about the nutrition education and feeding sessions, and brought her granddaughter to one because, she said, “I learned that my granddaughter was severely underweight, and learned that the Rural Development Associate would support me to bring her to the Health Center for correct diagnosis and treatment. Now I bring her to the supplementary feeding sessions, so she can eat nutrient-rich porridge to keep gaining weight and grow healthy, be active and not get sick.” San added, “It is working! I am so happy as my granddaughter is healthier, which is good. Now I don’t need to worry about borrowing money to pay for treatment when she is ill, and I can spend the $40 her parents are able to send us each month to buy health food instead of medicine. I am so grateful for the support that E and both organizations, CWS and Rural Development Association, have given us.”

(For more information please contact MSophal@cwsglobal.org )

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