CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)--“The easy part is feeding, the challenging part is to convince the barangay as to nutrition program budget and implementation,” says Elma Clapano, City Nutrition Action Officer (CNAO) of El Salvador City Misamis Oriental.
Elma is a fun, petite, and a ball of energy kind of a woman whose vision is to reduce malnutrition in El Salvador City.
She worked as an Overseas Foreign Worker (OFW) and came back on October 1, 2015 where she worked in the local government unit at the nutrition office. She became the regular CNAO on January 1, 2016.
“Six years ko naghawid sa nutrition program (I handled the nutrition program for six years),” she said.
One of her identified problems in the city is availability of food on the table.
“Naa atong advocacy, naa ang program nga gihatod sailang balay. Taman lang ta adto kai kung dili na available ang food sailang balay, mu abot gyud ang panahon nga mag malnourish ang bata,” she said.
(Our advocacy is there, the program is delivered in their homes. But we are limited with just that, if food is no longer available in their house, time will come that the children will become malnourished)
According to Elma, they can make a malnourished child have a normal weight after 120 days of feeding but after they come back, the child goes back to underweight again. It is a cycle but they can only do so much, she said.
They also advocate gardening but what they hear from mothers, “Ma’am, naa man mi gulay pero lisod kaayo ang bugas. Kung gulay maka ayom-ayom mi pero bugas ma’am dinha na mi. (Ma’am, we have vegetables but rice is difficult. We can find a way for vegetables, but rice is really difficult) ”
That is why they like it when there is feeding, Elma shared.
All barangays in the city each have their nutrition committee. The problem is how to sell the nutrition program to the barangay, she said.
“Naa silay nutrition committee pero didto ko naglisod sa budget, (They have a nutrition committee but I had difficulty making them budget)” she shared. They would say they only have little Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).
One baranagay only allotted P100 as monthly remuneration for Barangay Nutrition Scholar (BNS). After several visits and attending their meetings, Elma was able to urge the barangay to increase to P500 for BNS monthly stipend. Other barangays, meanwhile, are already giving as high as P2,000 per month to their BNS.
The CNAO office have also tapped the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) for the livelihood of those families who have malnourished children.
Nutrition program for it to be successful needs the support from the barangays and local government unit (LGU).
“It is impossible to eradicate malnutrition. But my target is to reduce malnutrition,” she said.
They are also doing Pabasa sa Nutrition, a learning event with mothers and advocates on First 1000 Days Law.
“Usahay ang pag advocate nato with feelings. Lisod kaayo mu advocate tag walai feelings kei murag dili muto-o, pero og tagaan nimu sila og example, kung makuha na nimu ang kiliti sa mama,” she said.
(Sometimes when we advocate, with feelings. It is very difficult to advocate without feelings because they wouldn’t believe, but if you give them example, you get the soft spot of the mothers)
Elma is vying for the CNAO outstanding award this year. (JMOR/PIA-10)