Food Security: NGOs play a vital role in preventing hunger
Wilmot James, Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry
22 May 2012
Today, I visited the Philani Child Health and Nutrition Project in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, with Democratic Alliance (DA) National Spokesperson Mmusi Maimane.
This is the first in a series of site visits to be conducted by the DA as part of our campaign to highlight the growing food security crisis in our country.
The right to access food and water is enshrined in our constitution. It is estimated that as many as one in three households are running out of money to buy food.
Projects like Philani Child Health & Nutrition Project, which runs 12 different programmes focusing on health, education, nutrition and self-employment, are vital to combating this problem. About 5000 families in the informal settlements of Khayelitsha, Crossroads and Browns Farm benefit directly from Philani’s programmes.
We were particularly impressed with Philani’s rehabilitation initiative, which provides an intensive feeding programme for mothers with undernourished children, and the nutrition education programme, which provides a practical nutrition advice and information service. These programmes are vital to the economic development of the area, since parents and children need to be healthy to be able to live productive lives.
The DA in government recognises this. The Western Cape government is in the process of piloting a work-for-food programme which will aim to provide food to hungry community members who are willing to do work for the benefit of their communities. It is vital that initiatives such as the Philani Child Health and Nutrition Project run alongside government’s feeding schemes to ensure that no one goes hungry.
In a context where food consumes 39% of the income of poor South African households and levels of malnutrition remain unacceptably high, NGOs, such as Philani, plays an important role in augmenting the government’s health services.
Over the coming weeks, the DA looks forward to engaging with other stakeholders and speaking to community representatives to find solutions to South Africa’s growing food security crisis.