How the Church of Jesus Christ is supporting the nourishment of mothers and children across the globe
The general Relief Society presidency will play a significant role in the program that will focus on maternal and newborn care, including nutrition and immunizations in 12 countries
In collaboration with Catholic Relief Services and other organizations, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is launching a “global effort” targeting poor health and malnutrition of children under 5 years old and their mothers.
A pilot project of the now global initiative was first announced by the First Presidency of the church in 2018 and then put into practice in the Philippines the following year.
The program is now helping mothers and children in 12 countries across the globe — the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe, per the church release.
In the coming months, even more countries will receive aid.
Efforts are focused on improving access and understanding of three main areas:
- Maternal and newborn care.
“We are committed to help alleviate malnutrition and prioritize the health and well-being of women and children,” said Blaine R. Maxfield, managing director of the Church’s Welfare and Self-Reliance Services, in a church release. “Our goal is to help God’s children reach their full potential.”
General Relief Society President Camille N. Johnson and her two counselors, Sister J. Anette Dennis and Sister Kristin M. Yee, will focus on getting families in need better access to health screenings and teaching mothers about nutritional and dietary care.
“We want to empower families,” President Johnson said in a church release. “In many cases, loving parents lack the knowledge to provide adequate nutrition for their children. With greater understanding and resources, they are better equipped to make changes that can have a lasting impact.”
Members of the church in each country volunteer with health experts to teach mothers about the nutrition their children need and help to address any concerns or urgent needs. Follow-up care is supported by ministering efforts in each ward and “bringing together the entire congregation,” said Sister Dennis in the church release.
“This project is something that comes naturally to women,” said Sister Yee in the release. “Relief Society sisters are already nurturing others in their homes and communities. Even if they aren’t directly involved (in this initiative), they’re part of a global sisterhood that is making a difference in people’s lives.”