This autumn, we’re thrilled to be supporting our official charity partner, Action Against Hunger UK, once again, raising funds to help children worldwide survive and grow up strong. When purchasing your tickets for the festive edition of Taste of London, you’ll have the option to donate £2 to support Action Against Hunger’s vision of a world free from hunger.
This year is extra special as every single £1 you donate when purchasing tickets with us this autumn is going to be doubled with UK aid from the Department for International Development, so your donation will go twice as far in helping to change lives for the better. All funds matched will ensure that mums and kids in Senegal can be supported with the nutrition and care they need to be healthy, as part of Action Against Hunger’s Healthy Mums Healthy Kids appeal.
Ensuring that every child is able to grow up strong begins with good nutrition and health – right from the start. These essential building blocks will help children to develop and achieve their potential.
But millions of mums and mums-to-be around the world struggle to give their children a healthy start to life. This is because sometimes they are still very young when they are giving birth and are going through a critical period of rapid growth, putting increased demands on their bodies. These young mothers frequently lack access to the support they need to provide the care and nutrition they and their children require. This puts them at greater risk since often they give birth to malnourished daughters who grow up to become malnourished mothers themselves.
For Madame Seck, being a midwife is a calling. Together with other midwives in Matam, a desert-like region in north-eastern Senegal, she has dedicated her professional life to breaking the vicious intergenerational circle of life-threatening malnutrition.
“Early pregnancies are a challenge here in Matam,” she says. “Many girls marry when they are still very young. Often, they drop out of school when they become pregnant. The younger a girl is when she becomes pregnant, the greater the risks to her and her baby’s health. From April to June, 3 in 4 mums giving birth to low-weight children in Matam were under 24 years old. This is why adolescent girls need special care and support.”
Madame Seck supports mums-to-be and young mums during and after their pregnancies so that they and their children can be healthy. She advises mums to see her for their monthly check-ups, provides them with advice on how to diversify their diets and encourages them to breastfeed exclusively. She also works closely with youth peer educators to inform teenagers about family planning and confidential services on nutrition and health.
“A few weeks ago, a 15-year-old girl came to see me. She was seven months pregnant. She did not know anything about birth control or reproductive health. She was not aware of the risks of getting pregnant and she told me that she was considering an abortion. She was scared of her parents’ reaction. I persuaded her to keep the child and together we talked to her parents. The girl gave birth to a healthy baby. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to support a mum through pregnancy and see her deliver a healthy baby.”
“We must work across the health, community and education sectors to provide information and support to adolescents so that they can learn about reproductive health and good nutrition. By empowering them to make their own decisions on when and how many children they have, and providing them with the information they need to look after themselves during pregnancy, we can tackle malnutrition head on.”
This Autumn, you can help break the vicious intergenerational circle of life-threatening malnutrition so that mothers can give birth to healthy children.
Donate to #HealthyMumsHealthyKids and you will be supporting incredible people like Madame Seck to provide the best advice and guidance to young mums and mums-to-be.
What’s more, your support will go twice as far because the UK Government will match your donation, so that Action Against Hunger can provide more children with good nutrition and care. To find out more, visit the Action Against Hunger website.