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270 000 South African children are added to the

‘stunting pool’ every year

Because it takes a village to raise a child!

The Inani StartWell Foundation developed an innovative way to address and monitor early child development by introducing a project called “The Village Project”. 


This project equips, educates and supports independent teams within their own communities to actively engage and support Early Childhood Development centres (ECD’s) and other feeding scheme initiatives.

Read our Previous Village Project Newsletters Here

At least 27% of South African children do not receive the minimum required nutrition during their formative years: The so-called First 1000 Days

Why the need to intervene? Are South African schools not supported by organized feeding schemes?


In South Africa, most feeding schemes rely on maize and soya to feed impoverished children. Maize is our cheap and available staple. Soya acts as a cost-effective protein source. None of these two main ingredients of the so-called corn-soy fortified blends has the necessary nutritional ingredients growing children need.


The Village Project Teams identify schools in their area to support and educate to ensure the children get the best possible breakfast at affordable prices.

How do we keep it affordable?


The Inani StartWell foundation establishes “not-for-profit” food processing plants. This shifts the processor’s focus from profits to shareholders to nutritional content. Village Project teams buy directly from the non-profit manufacturer and supply the schools they support on a monthly basis.


The Village Project Explained


Through Village Projects, the Inani StartWell Foundation brings different parties together creating a healthy synergy. These parties are as follows:


  • Growing children in communities that do not have regular access to growth nutrients.

  • Meals. The StartWell Nutrient-rich morning meal is designed to support child growth, but also investigate other healthy food supplies to the schools in question.

  • Dept of Social Development with their Early Childhood Development Grant.

  • A project team consisting of volunteers with a calling, passion, and possible resources to support and administer the nutritional needs of children from impoverished communities. We call them “our partners with the heart of a pastor, head of an entrepreneur and guts of a marine."

  • Donors. The project teams can supply detailed feedback with children’s growth data captured over a period of time to donors supporting the specific ECD’s.

Volunteer Cells


The Village project cannot exist without volunteers becoming involved in their communities. Volunteers can consist of Church Home Cell groups, a circle of friends, individuals with extra time on hand, family members or philanthropists already working in their communities.


Some individuals have the organisational skills, others have the time and some have the resources. If everyone in your group has a passion for the needy and feel want to make a change in this world, you have a winning team!


Tools Needed

1. Electronic scale

2. Measuring band

3. Mr Giraffe Measuring Kit

Measure and Intervene


Linear growth in early childhood is a strong marker of healthy growth given its association with morbidity and mortality risk, non-communicable diseases in later life, and learning capacity and productivity. It is also closely linked with child development in several domains including cognitive, language and sensory-motor capacities. 


The Village Project teams must monitor the following:

  1. Growth monitoring: an individual child’s growth (weight-for-age) is measured and weighed at intervals and the results are plotted on a chart.

  2. Height-for-age: a measure of stunting in children based on their height and age compared to an international standard using the Mr Giraffe Measuring Kit.

  3. Mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC): a measure of acute malnutrition. The circumference of the mid-upper arm is measured on a straight left arm (in right-handed people) midway between the tip of the shoulder (acromion) and the tip of the elbow (olecranon).

What can you do to help?


Help us get proper food in a school feeding scheme near you by piloting a Village Project in your community. Request the Village Project Manual to learn more or get involved:

We can stop stunting.

We have much work to do!


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