Mother’s Day Project aids African children and families

March 7, 2011

A mother holding her young child.

A mother holds her child as she prepares food. Improved nutrition for children is one of the goals of the Healthy Women Healthy Families program. —Photo by Bob Ellis.

A Presbyterian ministry in northern Malawi is helping children make the right kind of friends.

Recognizing the powerful role that peers play in the lives of children, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian’s Synod of Livingstonia is equipping children to teach each other about healthy behaviors. Through Child to Child Health Clubs, children are encouraged to learn and teach about disease prevention (particularly malaria), safety, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation.

The Child to Child Health Clubs help children “discover for themselves health and social issues in their communities, empower them to know they can make a difference and  promote behavior change in themselves and others,  including important adults in their lives,” says Jodi McGill, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission worker based in Mzuzu, Malawi.

McGill, a registered nurse, has consulted with the Synod of Livingstonia about the program. More than 100 children have received training to be leaders in the congregationally-based clubs.

The clubs began with a startup grant from Presbyterian Women’s Thank Offering and are now among the beneficiaries of the PC(USA)’s Healthy Women Healthy Families Mother’s Day Project. This effort, an initiative of the PC(USA)’s International Health & Development Office, provides Mother’s Day cards to Presbyterian Women’s groups and other mission-minded Presbyterians who distribute them to individuals in exchange for contributions to Healthy Women Healthy Families. Since 2001, thousands of people have made donations and then sent cards to their mothers and/or other women who have been significant in their lives.

In addition to the children’s health clubs, Healthy Women Healthy Families funds several other health-related ministries in Africa. They include malaria prevention, prenatal care, fistula surgeries and cervical cancer screenings as well as nutrition programs, immunizations and health screenings for children.

To learn how congregations can participate in the Mother’s Day Project, call Gail Bingham at (800) 728-7228, x5573, or email her.

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