Education provides a platform to present information about nutrition in an approachable manner. Education creates a space in which community members, mothers, health workers and all others involved can have open discussions and share ideas regarding the well being of the communities and the children. Education is at the core of changing behaviour and attitudes towards nutrition, and the goal is to do so in a safe and open environment for all to participate in. Education is easy to share, and with access to knowledge information will spread rapidly.
Program leaders are local women who show strong leadership skills and an eagerness to give back to their community. SAM trains them to be proficient in a basic nutrition curriculum that encompasses techniques and practices to alleviate the most problematic ailments plaguing children in rural Zambia. These trained Program Leaders then go on to teach nutrition classes to mothers and community members. Program Leaders follow a guidebook created by healthcare professionals and SAM colleagues to guide their community classes. They are a group of dedicated women who pave the way for education and leadership in their communities.
The SAM Project has based the nutrition curriculum around having a balanced diet, which we define as a diet inclusive of bodybuilding foods (foods rich in protein), protective foods (foods rich in vitamins and minerals) and energy foods (foods rich in carbohydrates). A child with access to a balanced diet is on a path towards optimal brain growth and human potential.
A Balanced Diet
To track the growth of the children in the Nutrition Program, the Program Leaders weigh and measure the children each month. This allows for assessment of the success of the education workshops. It also allows for the SAM to keep track of all children who have been involved with the program and notify health professionals to follow up if it seems as though there is an issue.