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Handy guide to proper nutrition for children launched

Tigum Panglawas booklet is an initiative by Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. in partnership with the DOST Food and Nutrition Research Institute to promote childhood nutrition. (Photo from DOST 7 FB page)

Health and nutrition experts have consistently emphasized the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child after birth, as it is the foundation upon which their lifelong health is built. 

First time mothers – and even the longtime ones – find themselves sometimes struggling on what they should do to keep their children healthy, especially the kinds of food to feed them. 

To help parents in this crucial stage of a child’s development, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) have partnered to produce a booklet called “Tigum Panglawas.”

Handy guide on children nutrition on a budget 

Tigum Panglawas serves as a handy guide for parents and helps promote proper diet and nutrition for children.  

The booklet contains nourishing meals that are both affordable and suitable for children. 

This way, parents will realize they do not need to spend more money just to provide nutritious food for their children. 

“Poverty is multidimensional and one source of poverty is poverty in nutrition,” said RAFI Vice President for Client and Enterprise Development Iris Louise Dorado. 

Dorado shared that they have seen that mothers would often focus on their business or how to augment their family income and that they do not prioritize their children’s proper nourishment.

This often results in children who suffer from frail conditions caused by malnutrition, she said. 

This prompted RAFI, through the Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund (DACF), to collaborate with DOST for a resource material that can help educate parents on early childhood nutrition.

“We connected RAFI to the DOST Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) so they can share their expertise and resources since this project involves recipes,” said DOST 7 Science Research Specialist I Elvirg Solana. 

With the help of Dr. Parolita Mission, regional nutrition program coordinator of the National Nutrition Council 7, the Tigum Panglawas booklet was produced. 

The first section of the booklet explains the importance of feeding the children with nutritious food and how it impacts their future.

“The focus areas in this project are early childhood nutrition, early childhood education, and early childhood health,” said RAFI-DACF program manager Mayren Cogtas. 

The booklet draws inspiration from RAFI’s booklet project in 2021 for its microfinance arm called “Tigom,” which is the Cebuano word for “save.” 

“Tigom” serves as a financial guide that promotes the habit of saving. It was paired with a coin bank when it was distributed to its beneficiaries. 

“Gi-maintain namo ang ‘tigom,’ gi-addan namo og ‘panglawas.’ (We kept the word ‘tigom,’ and added the word ‘panglawas’)” said Cogtas. “Tigom means ‘save’ and panglawas means ‘body.’ So it’s like we’re saving our body for the future.”

A term called ‘Kumainments’ can also be found in the booklet. Kumainments is a 10-commandment-like guide for parents to instill in them the top 10 things to remember in preparing nutritious foods. (Offical Facebook Page Department of Science and Technology VII)

The booklet also features the “Kumainments,”which is a list of “10 commandments” for parents to remember in preparing nutritious food. 

Apart from the recipes and reminders, the booklet also contains grocery lists, meal plans, and nutritious recipes that parents can easily whip up together with their children without breaking their budget. 

Solana described the booklet as “holistic” as it does not only provide a recipe guide for healthy meals, but also allows mothers or parents to keep track of their expenses 

One misconception that the booklet aims to address is that healthy meals are expensive.

“We’re hoping for an increased understanding that nutritious food is not expensive,” said Dorado.

Nationwide distribution

RAFI has identified 500 families of their clients who will receive the booklet throughout the country, with the initial 20 families having received their booklets during the launching in 2023. 

The rest of the target families will receive the booklets within the first quarter of 2024. 

The booklets will be distributed for free. 

According to Dorado, the identified families have children between 0 to 5 years old. 

“In RAFI Microfinance we’re around more than 600,000 across the Philippines covering 300 branches from Luzon to Mindanao. But together with DACF, we really want to target those families with children 0 to 5 years old,” Dorado said.

Alongside the distribution, a discussion will be made to educate the families on the importance of nutritious meals that are affordable, and how parents can maximize whatever is available around them.  

Dorado shared that they will eventually expand to a wider distribution of the booklets. 

RAFI personnel teaching mothers how to use Tigum Panglawas booklet. An initial batch of 20 families identified by RAFI received their booklets for free during the launching in December 2023. RAFI and DOST 7 are eyeing to distribute the booklets to 500 families nationwide within the first quarter of 2024. (Photo from RAFI FB page)

“If we see there is a positive impact to the kids and the community in general, why not? We’re doing this for them because our view is really long term. So we begin with the 500 but we don’t say that this is the end,” Dorado said.

RAFI, however, is requiring the mothers who will receive the booklets for a counterpart: first, they will report to RAFI the impact of the booklet on their families by the end of the monitoring and evaluation, and second, they will be open to RAFI to visit them and review their utilization of the booklet. 

The evaluation will be conducted five months after the family receives their booklet. 

Solana said that DOST7 is thankful that they are part of RAFI’s initiative as it will help address the nutritional challenges of the community, as the booklet is relevant not just for mothers but the rest of the community. (JAT/PIA 7)

DOST 7 Regional Director Jesus Zamora (4th from left) with RAFI Vice President for Client and Enterprise Development Iris Louise Dorado (3rd from left) during the launching of the Tigum Panglawas booklet. The booklet is co-authored by National Nutrition Council 7 regional nutrition program coordinator Dr. Parolita Mission. (Photo from DOST 7 FB page)

About the Author

Jositte Ann Tista


Region 7

Jositte Ann Tista is an Information Officer I at Philippine Information Agency (PIA) - 7. 

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