Empowering Mothers and Children in Haiti Through RANFOSE

Mariah Brown, Communications Intern

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At Partners of the Americas, we strive to empower and educate women to ensure healthy children, families, and communities. As we reflect on Mother’s Day 2019, we want to highlight how programs like Ranfòse Abitid Nitrisyon pou Fè Ogmante Santee (RANFOSE) have empowered mothers to create healthier lives for them and their children.

Partners began implementing the USAID-funded RANFOSE alongside the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) in 2017 to improve knowledge about the value of fortified foods and increase the consumption of these foods among the Haitian population. Fortified foods include vitamins and minerals, such as iron, folic acid, vitamin A, and iodine in staple foods like wheat flour, vegetable oils, and salt. These nutrients can be found in fish, green leafy vegetables, eggs, and vegetable oil.

Fortified foods are particularly important for children due to their formative year nutritional vulnerability and the importance of their childhood development. Deficiency impairs the mother-child relationship by causing an undue burden of stress on the mother and the family, as they often cannot afford the healthcare needed to alleviate symptoms. Undernourished mothers are at risk for extensive health problems that can be passed through genetic traits to their children, such as blindness, cognitive issues, muscular dystrophy, according to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 

Haiti currently has one of the highest rates of underweight children in Latin America and the Caribbean. Out of Haiti’s total population of 10.7 million, 50 percent are undernourished, according to USAID. About one in three Haitians live on less than $2 a day.

Haiti is still recovering from tragedies like the disastrous earthquake in 2010, the cholera outbreak that followed shortly after in the same year, and the detrimental hurricane in 2016, leaving Haiti with limited resources while the need for supplies increases. These events have resulted in a chronically unstable political environment and fragile economy, making it difficult for mothers to support themselves and their children financially and supply properly fortified foods, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

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In the face of adversity, mothers in Haiti persevere to fight for the future of themselves and their children. RANFOSE provides a vehicle for mothers with significant nutrition insecurity and micronutrient deficiencies to provide for them and their children by increasing the availability of high-quality fortified foods throughout the country. Under RANFOSE, about 7 – 8.5 million people have consumed fortified food.

This program aligns with the Plan Stratégique de Nutrition MSPP 2013-2018 of the Government of Haiti that focuses on the prevention of malnutrition. This is a part of the Haitian government’s effort to decrease micronutrient deficiencies, improve the national strategy for fortification, and implement better quality control for local or imported fortified food products.

We are proud to partners with USAID-Haiti, the Haitian government, and GAIN, in supporting these courageous mothers combatting economic vulnerability and significant nutrition insecurity. Partners has a long-standing tradition of uplifting mothers and their children around the world.

To learn more about the RANFOSE program and how Partners helps to support mothers in their efforts to provide quality nutrition to their children click here.