The first time I went to Africa to see the reality with my own eyes, I got three types of reaction to the announcement of my departure: Either I was going to catch malaria, or I was better able to prepare to live the 'racism towards whites', or I was just going to go for nothing: A drop of water in the ocean… the most common reaction. Well, none of these predictions came true. On the contrary: I caught the Africanus virus! Barely 8 months after the first mission, it was not difficult to convince others wanting to help the cause, and Nutrition Without Borders took off and had accomplished so much that the drop of water in the ocean had turned into a tidal wave! And this without racism or malaria!
With zeal and perseverance, volunteers know that they have their work cut out for them, but they are already feeling enormous satisfaction at seeing all that solidarity can change in the quality of life of mothers and children in emerging countries. NSF is already changing the lives of thousands of people, directly or indirectly, through its actions and awareness. Since 2018, more than 500 mission days have been completed. And all this with the Heart Funds, because NSF is an organization based on mutual aid and volunteerism.
Among other things, missions (and many volunteer hours between missions!) have been used to transfer skills to nutritionists in Benin in order to better equip them in their fight against malnutrition. Numerous on-site meetings with ministers, heads of departments, paediatricians and professional associations, as well as multiple working sessions, have made it possible to understand the needs. Eureka! Concrete solutions are on the horizon, and sustainable collaborations are taking place to implement a pilot project to prevent malnutrition, inspired by our Quebec OLO program, which will be launched over two years. Subsequently, there will be evidence not only that prevention through individual nutritional intervention pays off and improves quality of life, but also reduces infant mortality and low-weight babies. The way in which the problem of malnutrition in Benin is addressed will be transformed. Seeds that NSF missionaries are happy to sow! Lots of work to do for our volunteers… and also a lot of money to raise to make this project possible.
Involve everyone in the fight against hunger
Hunger is about everyone, not just nutritionists! That's why NSF invites everyone to contribute according to their abilities. Regardless of age, occupation or profession, everyone can help stop hunger through concrete actions. NSF is an inclusive organization that welcomes anyone who wants to do their part.
A Snowball effect
Contrary to what we may think, everything we do to support the emerging peoples has a real ripple effect. Crossing the ocean to lend a hand is above all to give them hope, and also confidence. Coming out of the shadows in the eyes of developed countries, african countries are waiting for this, because this solidarity is crucial. We have to create a bridge, share to allow them to get their heads out of the water.And each volunteer, or 'humanitarian tourist', changes the lives of the people he meets simply by his presence, by enriching exchanges and by all the inner riches that he brings back to his entourage in the country of origin.
Doing good where it really matters is a contagious virus, which long-time missionaries call the 'Africanus Virus'! And it's not just humanitarian action that does good. Africa, and the African peoples of course, deserves to be known for so many unspoking reasons…
I caught this virus and I wanted to contaminate everyone around me. With all the generosity and solidarity that we are capable of in Quebec, it has not been difficult to rally several members on my return, people of heart who have felt challenged by all the suffering that children in emerging countries are suffering. Because these countries are developing rapidly in terms of tourism or trade, but unfortunately, mothers and children, especially outside urban areas, are still left behind and do not benefit from this growth. The Coalition gives them a path and supports professionals who are committed to helping their country.
Everyone has their own little share
Not everyone has the Mere Teresa gene in itself, or Rockefeller's wallet. But it takes so little to help a lot. For example, with $25 Canadian, mothers in a community can purchase 50 egg-laying hen chicks that will be able to offer one egg a day to all children in their village.
Thanks to local professionals, work continues on the ground between missions. There are a whole host of myths about nutrition and growth to be blasted in Africa and education is the basis for solving malnutrition.
When you think about it, it is absurd that even in 2020, with all the technology we have, so many children are still starving to death today. We know all the mapping of the human genome. We're going into space. But just across the ocean, at 20 hours' flight, infant mortality is one in two, not counting all mothers who die in childbirth. This is an aberration that Nutrition Without Borders intends to eliminate.
Can you learn more about Nutrition Without Borders, its actions and its next missions? Follow us on our page or see the section About NSF
Article by Marie-France Lalancette, founder Nutrition Sans Frontières