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PIA Press Release

ARMM seeks to deploy volunteers in fight against hunger, malnutrition

Isabela City, Basilan (8 September) -- The National Nutrition Council-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (NNC-ARMM) targets to enlist the help of at least 300 volunteers starting this October in the fight against hunger and malnutrition in the region.

Regional nutrition program coordinator, Dr. Eloisa Usman said that the project hopes to recruit one volunteer per barangay in 300 pre-identified areas across ARMM to serve as Barangay Nutrition Volunteer (BNV).

NNC-ARMM is pushing for a beneficial collaboration with local government units (LGUs) because of its key role in the implementation of this program.

ARMM currently has 2,490 barangays. Dr. Usman said their ultimate goal is to have at least one BNV per barangay in the future.

"The support of local government executives would be crucial in determining the extent of the program", she said.

The Bureau of Public Information said that the ARMM provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi constitute the poorest provinces in the country. It is not surprising, therefore, that the prevalence of hunger and malnutrition in these provinces are also very high, Usman said.

She said it is due to this state of poverty that all of the five ARMM provinces fall among the priority areas of the Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program (AHMP) of the government.

She said nutrition volunteers will help monitor and assess nutrition problems in their respective barangays and in the implementation of the regional proper nutrition program.

NNC-ARMM has earmarked approximately P800,000 for the program. The amount will be mainly used to cover for the five-day training of would-be volunteers.

Usman said they hope to convince LGUs to provide regular stipends to the volunteers.

The program also intends to help out-of-school youths pursue or continue college. After two years of continuous voluntary service, a BNV will earn a 2nd grade eligibility from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and can opt to take up any four-year degree in college under a scholarship that would be provided by the NNC.

They would then be considered a Barangay Nutrition Scholar (BNS). There are currently no BNS yet in ARMM unlike in other regions in the country.

NNC-ARMM was only established in mid-March of this year thru a memorandum of agreement (MoA) between the NNC head office and the Department of Health (DoH)-ARMM. (PIA9-BST) [top]

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