While living in Shimoni, Kenya I was lucky enough to work with the local health care system. In most rural areas in the world health care clinics are run by a single medical professional, normally a nurse or sometimes a doctor and many community health worker volunteers. In our village the CHW’s would do outreach programs with the smaller villages outside of Shimoni on everything from AIDS awareness to hand and feet washing.
Monthly, the CHW’s go around and weigh children for the Kenyan Growth Monitoring program to help detect malnutirtion. Previously when a child would be malnurished, the CHW’s would humiliate and shame the mother trying to get her to change and somehow figure out how to care properly for her child. While I was there I created a Malnutrtion Mentoring Program which was resources created for the CHW’s to properly detect signs of malnutriton and mentor the mothers using culturally sensitive resources for them to understand how to change their habits.
Through this process, I photographed the children. Yes, some of these children are malnourished and need better nutrition, but at the end of the day they arn’t sitting in mud puddles covered in flies suffering. They are just being kids. I created this series to fight the stigma of malnutrition in Africa. I would like to add there are areas that have extreme poverty and malnutrition that should not be over looked, but for many regions.. this is what everyday life is.
If you notice the scales here. They are always way off, dangerous (yes kids hanging from hooks), and are just not sustainable for growth monitoring. In 2018, I am creating a campaign to raise funds to purchase rechargeable scales for the CHW’s to use.