Quebec without borders interns in action for proper nutrition!

August 20, 2014
by 
Gabrielle Angers-Gosselin

Here we are at the finishing line! We’ve made it to the last week of work. Only the final details are left: thinking about our goodbye party; finishing our internship project; purchasing souvenirs; … and writing up a few blog posts to tell you about our experience here in Bolivia! We believe that it’s important to describe the daily life we’ve shared over these last two and a half months.

Our introduction-to-international-solidarity internship is taking place in Bolivia with a long-time Development and Peace partner, the Centro de PROmoción y de Salud Integral (CEPROSI). As its name suggests, the organization is dedicated to developing the well being of its community members through an integral vision of health. For our local partner, integral health means both a person’s physical and psychological well being in a healthy environment.

With this in mind, CEPROSI is implementing its “En acción por una buena alimentación” campaign to promote healthy eating habits. The campaign has also enabled CEPROSI to carry out a nutritional diagnosis of the women who come to the centres where the organization is involved. Of the 160 women who participated in the diagnosis, 1 individual is severely undernourished, 48 are of normal weight, 53 are overweight, and 58 are obese. These alarming statistics show the pertinence of a campaign for proper nutrition and also justify our internship work.

What role do we play within the organization?

Our internship project has a very packed agenda; there’s no doubt about that. Our mandate is to raise awareness and inform the peri-urban populations of La Paz concerning healthy eating habits and to develop potentially reusable educational material so as to help these healthy habits take root. To do so, we’ve set up a nutrition workshop in response to the problem revealed by the nutritional diagnosis, using educational material to teach women and children about a healthy and balanced diet.

So far, more than 150 women have participated in our workshop. On top of that, we have also worked on developing a nutritional manual that offers a wealth of information about food groups and their health benefits as well as a number of recipe suggestions. The manual will be distributed in the 20 women’s centres of the Sembrando Semillas women’s association so that the women can consult it as needed.

In addition to these two projects – the main objectives of our internship – we have achieved even more, in conjunction with CEPROSI. For instance, we supported them in developing a second nutritional assessment aimed, this time, at the children who come to the centres. In order to enable each woman to check her own and her family’s health, we are also helping produce a guide on health alertness that provides them with the resources they need for monitoring. Moreover, we also ended up participating in several other workshops and panel discussions on the topics of health and nutrition.

In short, we are about to leave Bolivia very proud of what we’ve accomplished with these women. We hope to have made a small difference in their daily lives and, who knows, maybe they will put some of our tips into practice?