Van Ho is a community of nine villages with nearly 8,000 residents district in Son La province, about 150 km west of Hanoi.
Access to health care, education and clean drinking water in five of the nine villages is limited and the road network between the villages and the highway is not well developed.
Seven kindergartens in the nine villages are in a poor condition and can’t offer children a positive and stimulating learning environment. In most of them there is no toilet, no running water system or drinking water facilities, no clean playground or adequate classrooms.
The malnutrition rate is high due to poverty. Most kindergarten children bring their lunch while others are picked up by their parents for a home lunch break. In both cases their meals are usually with rice and vegetables and have very low nutritional value.
To help improve this situation the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS) is working with the Table for Two organisation to deliver a nutrition project.
Pa Che 2, Pa Cop and Sao Do are some of the poorest villages in Van Ho and the kindergartens in these villages were selected for the nutrition project because of their needs and the commitment from local people to contribute labour for cooking and for building a small kitchen at each kindergarten.
The objective is to contribute to the development of the children by reducing the malnutrition rate through the provision of a regular, nutritious lunch. Meals are provided 5 days a week to 60 children in kindergartens in Pa Che 2, Pa Cop and Sao Do.
The outcomes include better health for the children so they can learn more effectively and the reduced risk of medical problems. The project also aims to increase the number of days students attend school. It also gives parents an opportunity to be more productive at work because they don’t have to prepare food or pick up their children during lunch time.