The hostilities in Marawi displaced thousands of residents and can result to increased malnutrition. Conflicts affect livelihoods, impair productive activities and limit access to safe foods and basic services. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recommends that emergency nutrition interventions include food distribution, supplementary feeding and micronutrient supplementation as well as nutrition education. Relief efforts should include plans for protecting or re-establishing the sustainable food and livelihood security of the affected groups when the crisis subsides.
The Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), through funding support from DOST-GIA and DOST-PCIEERD, implemented a Nutrition Intervention Mix program model for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Barangay Sagonsongan Area 1 in Marawi City. This is the first family approach intervention model with four components: gardening, nutrition education, supplementary feeding and income generating project (GarNESupp Plus IGP). There were 75 households with 77 families or 352 individuals who benefited from this program.
A supplementary feeding for 120-days (August to December 2018) was conducted using FNRI-developed nutritious Halal products: multi-nutrient extruded rice kernel (MNERK) and BIMON. MNERK is an ordinary rice blended with a multinutrient premix: iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B9 and vitamin B12. BIMON is a snack food made of rice-mongo fortified with iron and zinc. The FNRI-developed products used in the feeding program were bought from the technology adoptors in Regions 11 and 12. A 3-week cycle menu guide with Halal recipes using local vegetables was developed. The availability and cost of the ingredients were considered in developing the cycle menu. The cost of the recipe ranged from P12.00 to P23.00 per serving. Lunch meals were prepared in a central kitchen to ensure that the developed recipes were followed. Adult members of the family were responsible in food preparation, cooking, serving and other post-meal activities in the central kitchen. They were organized into groups and worked on a rotational basis.
For sustainability, nutrition education sessions were conducted among the parents/ caregivers and adult members of the family using the health and nutrition modules translated in local language.
For the gardening component, the DOSTFNRI Project Team networked with the Department of Agriculture in the local government unit (LGU) of Marawi City. They conducted training on container gardening and provided the start-up seedlings.
Partnership with the LGU of Marawi City and the leaders of the community (Area President and Area Camp Manager) helped in the smooth implementation of the program.
While nutrition rehabilitation and food aid are clearly essential to preserve lives in the short run, they cannot provide lasting solutions. The DOST-FNRI Project Team linked the community with nongovernment organizations (NGOs) for income generating projects: NutritionistDietitians Association of the Philippines (NDAP) South Luzon and Cagayan de Oro City Chapters donated a sewing machine for the community; SMILES Foundation (an NGO from Cagayan de Oro City) also pledged to donate three (3) sewing machines; Infant and Pediatric Nutrition Association of the Philippines (IPNAP) donated funds for the construction of a community kitchen using eco-bricks as wall materials; Caritas Manila conducted training among the families of Barangay Sagonsongan Area 1 in making ecobricks and solar lamps. The DOST-FNRI Project Team also provided materials for accessories making using beads as incentive for the mothers who volunteered in the kitchen during the feeding.
The DOST-FNRI plans to implement this Nutrition Intervention Mix program model to other transitory shelter communities in Marawi City and to those affected by the typhoon in Bicol. The DOST-FNRI hopes that this kind of intervention will not only help solve the problem of malnutrition, but also help the calamity-stricken communities to rebuild and ensure better quality of life.