Alstom Foundation, Helen Keller help Vietnam improve nutrition

By Tu HoangThe Saigon Times 

The Enhanced Homestead Food Production (EHFP) program was kicked off on Tuesday by the Alstom Foundation in partnership with Helen Keller International to help improve nutrition for poor people in Son La Province.

The VND9-billion program, co-funded by the National Institute of Nutrition and Irish Aid, is part of Alstom’s ongoing commitment to improving living conditions in communities surrounding its sites worldwide.

Preliminary research to assess the needs and requirements of Son La started in October 2013 and the whole project will last three years.

Figures from Son La, located in the northwest of Vietnam and home to many ethnic minority groups, showed 36% of its population is living in poverty.

Besides providing initial farming input like quality seedlings and saplings of vegetables and fruits as well as quality breeds of livestock, beneficiaries will be trained in food production techniques to ensure the sustainability of farming activities beyond the initial project timeframe.

The Alstom Foundation and HKI’s ultimate goal for the project is to improve the nutritional levels of mothers and children below five years of age via many ways such as education on importance of nutrition, agricultural training, production and consumption of nutritious foods through the homestead food production program as well as empowering participating women to contribute to improved nutrition and well-being in their families and communities.

HKI’s Enhanced Homestead Food Production program model is an intensive method of small scale farming that makes optimal use of land, water and solar energy to achieve high economic efficiency from low capital investment. This program has benefited over one million families worldwide.

Hanoi, 2013- 11-28