A private foundation whose mandate is to help eradicate malnutrition in the country described the newly passed “First 1,000 Days of Life” law as a timely and sustainable program.
“We see the importance of initiatives to eradicate malnutrition among children. We consider the enactment of Republic Act No. 11148 as a comprehensive and sustainable intervention that will benefit the Filipino children’s first 1,000 days of life,” said Dindo Danao, executive director of Odyssey Foundation Inc. (OFI).
OFI was organized in 2004 as the corporate social responsibility arm of CDO Foodsphere Inc. with the key mandate to help eradicate children malnourishment.
“We believe that the problem can be resolved better, if there is a joint effort between the private sector and the national government,” Danao said.
President Rodrigo Duterte on November 29, 2018 signed into law RA 11148 to reduce malnutrition in the country and make Filipino children healthier. The law aims to improve the nutritional status of Filipino children and prepare them to become productive citizens.
The law, which is also known as ‘Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act aims to scale up the national and local health nutrition programs through a strengthened integrated strategy for maternal, neonatal, child health and nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life.
More than a decade before the passage of the law, OFI launched Gabay Nutrition supplemental feeding program to provide physical nourishment the children need to grow and become healthy and productive individuals.
Data from the government show that about 3.7 million Filipino children are stunted while 800,000 are undernourished.
Under the Gabay Nutrisyon program, OFI and community partners were able to transform undernourished children into healthy netizens. In particular, it helped bring back 25,000 malnourished children to normal life for the past several years in more than 40 poor communities.
Early this year, the foundation launched a series of trainings in cooperation with Department of Health (DoH) and local government units (LGU) to let people know about the importance of the first 1,000 days of life.
The trainings were participated in by barangay nutrition scholars and barangay health workers in areas that need major intervention. These nutrition and health workers, in turn, will cascade the knowledge and information to health and daycare centers who will share them with mothers, pregnant women, and teenage mothers in their respective areas.
OFI President Jerome D. Ong said the foundation’s maxim “We help Nurture Life” should be true not only to those who have financial capability to purchase CDO products, but also to those who have less in life.
“We took this maxim to the heart of OFI as the corporate social responsibility arm of CDO Foodsphere Inc. As a CSR unit, OFI serves as a catalyst for social development that benefits the less privileged and marginalized members of our society,” he said.
OFI was born out of CDO Foodsphere’s vision to help improve the lives of the people in the communities where the company operates its business.
“It is said that a journey of a thousand miles start with a single step. Odyssey Foundation’s 14-year journey started with our desire to reach out to communities,” said Ong.
“We envision seeing healthy and well-nourished children in our communities. The supplemental feeding program became our maiden way of sharing our resources by giving children a chance for healthier and better life,” he said.
Ong said OFI will continue to embrace the hallmarks of good values, best practices and good governance through transparency, accountability and high level of professionalism.
“We are grateful for the steadfast support of our partners who continue to walk with us, carrying the same vision and values to help nurture life,” he said.