Cebu News

DSWD-7 to start another cycle of feeding program

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-7 is set to start another cycle of its feeding program aimed to benefit over 150,000 children in Central Visayas in 2024.

DSWD-7 said that some 150,637 children will be supplemented with food based on their caloric needs as the cycle 14 of the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) is set to start soon, which spans the academic year 2024-2025.

SFP helps combat hunger by providing food to children ages 3 to 4 years old enrolled in Child Development Centers (CDC) or daycare centers and 2 to 4 years old in Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP) in different local government units.

For cycle 14, DSWD said it allocated P15 per day to provide food and milk to each child beneficiary during class sessions.

About 3,895 CDC and 336 SNP in 130 LGUs in the region will serve as feeding centers, while child development workers will ensure feeding to achieve the target nutritional status of monitored children.

Milk and food will be in hot meals to supplement the three-meal-a-day consumption of the child, as it hopes to address the incidence of malnutrition among preschoolers.

It also aims to encourage parents to look forward to sending their children to daycare centers while learning and nourishing them at the same time.

While the allocation per child remains as is, DSWD-7, through the SFP, is looking for ways to increase the nutritional value of the food and meals served.

“Addressing hunger and malnutrition remains our priority. To keep this in motion, we aim to increase, or at least sustain, the nutritional status of our beneficiaries by giving them a wide variety of nutritious and healthy meal options,” said Ma. Romilene Padilla, SFP focal person.

During the cycle 13 implementation in 2023, SFP followed a menu of hot meals, nutritious snacks, and milk to supplement regular food intake.

SFP used locally produced and sourced food that would reach an equivalent of one-third of the Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intake (RENI), a nutrient-based dietary standard following the Philippine Dietary Reference Intake, which keeps the energy and nutrient requirements of an individual.

In the same year, SFP partnered with the Philippine Carabao Center and the National Dairy Authority to source their milk supply.

Through the Enhanced Partnerships Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program, 20 community-based organizations supplied food items to SFP and directly delivered them to the LGUs.

Daycare workers regularly conduct weight and height measurements to monitor and evaluate the child’s development in nutrition.

Padilla said that the monthly monitoring has yielded positive results of a sustained nutritional status of children at 81 percent.

At the end of cycle 13, SFP reported that 150,637 children benefited from the program. It has achieved an 87 percent improvement in nutritional status in the region, which is above average, or 131,054 out of 150,637 children have normal nutritional status, either improving or maintaining status.

DSWD-7 Regional Director Shalaine Marie Lucero said that besides providing food, SFP promotes many advocacies like the Water, Hygiene, and Sanitation or WASH program in daycare centers.

“We put a premium on promoting the Parent Effectiveness Sessions among parents and caregivers. We also constantly remind them to avail of free services from their health centers such as deworming and vitamin A supplementation,” she added.

Lucero also shared that SFP conducts sessions for CDWs on food safety practices and menu planning. The learnings from these sessions are shared with the parents to impart the value of nutrition, sustain the gains and improvements of their children, and replicate meals composed of simple ingredients and doable preparations beneficial not only to children but to the whole family.

SFP is the contribution of DSWD to the early childhood care and development (ECCD) program of the government and Republic Act No. 11037, or the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act. — (FREEMAN)

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