KDM’s Work with Malnourished Children

Through the clinic and medical missions work of the Kingdom Driven Ministries team here in Kenya, many instances of malnourished children have been identified and we have done our best to provide consistent care for these special cases. In almost every case, the children and a family caregiver have spent an initial period of time in a local clinic or hospital getting their medical and dietary needs met, receiving nutritional counseling, and preparing for continued care when returned to the home environment.

The continued care for these patients has been a challenge, as of course there are underlying causes for the malnourishment; in most cases, the family simply lives in poverty and cannot provide the quality and quantity of food necessary for proper child development. Many of these children and their mothers have been abandoned by the husband and father. Even when food assistance is provided, the food intended for the malnourished child is sometimes consumed by equally hungry family members (other children or even parents). This is frustrating, yet understandable. One grandfather (who was caring for his two malnourished grandchildren) basically said, “Of course I need to eat, too. If I can’t work, how can I provide any better for the children?” This is a common quandary: how to provide for the needy children while also helping families and empowering them for continued care of these little ones.

Currently, we have seven children for whom we have been providing regular assistance; not only food but, in some cases, financial help (such as for mothers who have been left on their own by fathers who were the sole support for the family). Some of these children are siblings, and in all cases they remain with family members for their care. We have had regular supporters who have taken on the burden for this financial assistance, but our program is currently undergoing revision and there does not seem to be enough commitment from our donors to continue to help these children.

Our program has been highly individualized and, as stated, has included some supplemental financial assistance. KDM staff has been doing home visits, coordinating appointments with a nutritionist, shopping for special needs, and so on. However, the team feels it best to streamline this process and develop a standardized strategy that can be put in place for all program participants and maximize financial resources. As a result, our desire is to provide weekly food packages with common items that are needed by the malnourished children, as well as a small amount of maize that is intended for use by the rest of the family.

Ideally, we will continue to care for the children on a temporary basis and gradually release them from dependence on the program provisions. We propose 125ml oil, 1kg sugar, 1kg rice, 1kg porridge, 2kg beans, 2litres milk and 10 oranges per “package.” Households will get one or two packages depending on the number of malnourished children. We will add 4kg maize per household to hold up the rest of the family and hopefully prevent them from using resources meant for needy children. A package costs about $12.00. We believe a “package” program will provide sufficient nutritional supplementation to sustain the needy children, without creating a dependence on the part of the caregivers.

Our current population of patients (7), each receiving one package weekly, would total $4368 on an annual basis, which averages $364 per month. Additionally, we hope to offer a monthly stipend of $35 to one of the children’s caregivers, as it is a special situation (see information about Isaac, below), which brings the program total to $399 per month.

Connect to Drop Box for photos of our current patients, some photos “then” (when the children were originally brought to us), and some “now” (current photos showing their progress thus far): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fz5xvptemp5e7xw/AACrwZvUQSQ-03-clBx00E3ia?dl=0

The majority of children served are currently doing much better than they originally were, but given the circumstances of many of these families, we have seen quite a few of them backslide in health after their release from care at the local clinic and return to the home situation. This is why the provision of a supplemental weekly food package can mean so much in these situations. Here is a list of the children and a short description of their family situations:


Isaac, age 13: His malnourishment and development were in critical condition when we began assisting him. His mother has given an Aunt care of him, and she has an additional 4 of her own children in the home. Isaac is malnourished but also suffers from epilepsy and has undiagnosed neurological issues. As a result, it is difficult for his Aunt to both provide for his ongoing medical needs and work full-time outside the home. We have been assisting her with a small stipend to try to stretch her existing funds and would like to continue to do so, at least temporarily.

Carin (4) and her sister, Faith (2), are at home with their mother, who recently gave birth to another baby. She has another, older child who is being cared for by family members. They spent approximately two months at the local clinic, as their initial condition was acute.

Garrison (6) is at home with Mama and 4 siblings. Garrison’s younger siblings, due to being breastfed, are nutritionally and developmentally doing well for now but because Garrison’s Mother was abandoned and he is the oldest, he has suffered the most from malnourishment.

Abigail (6) and Eliya (3) spent a long time at the local clinic and were released with concerns about the mother’s mental and emotional ability to care for the children long-term. The children and the mother spent some time with an alternate care-giver in the community who was taking care of two of her own malnourished grandchildren. After some months in this situation, the woman confirmed that the mother continued to have difficulty with basic responsibilities regarding the children. With approval from our village Chief, a member of our local fellowship brought the children into his family, where their health improved and they began to achieve some developmental milestones (such as walking, which they had not done previously). The children are currently being cared for by their grandfather, who is now also a member of our fellowship. There are several other grandchildren in the home.

Murawa (4), is our most recent addition to the program. His mother has left him in the care of his grandparents since birth. His grandfather, Charles, is an Mzee (respected older man) in our fellowship. He is a hard worker but is an older man, and he recently underwent surgery to repair his femur, which was broken inside the socket. As a church, we began providing him with some food assistance during this time, especially as we began to notice his hair changing color due to pellagra (a nutritional deficiency). Though not acutely malnourished, Murawa is small for his age and would certainly benefit from supplemental food assistance, at least temporarily.

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