Help us combat hunger and malnutrition by working closely with VFV staff and local community members in initiating and running tailored nutrition and feeding projects.
Volunteer for the Visayans (VFV) works in rural communities through its Nutrition Program. This is primarily to tackle
malnourishment through the provision of nutritious meals to undernourished
preschool kids and educate the community through series of lectures and
workshops on nutrition and basic hygiene. All meals provided are researched and
nutritionally analyzed to ensure that each week the children receive the
adequate nutrients in accordance with government supplementary feeding
Programs are based in rural villages in Tacloban, Palo, and Tanauan.
project is handled by one of the VFV community program coordinators or
sponsorship program coordinators.
Nutrition Program has been running for many years, since the founding of the
organization. However, each site only runs for 4 months unless there is quite
the need to extend the nutrition project to 6 months or even a year. Only those
nutrition projects for VFV’s sponsored children run continuously.
The target demographic
nutrition program is intended for pre-school children and all the kids under
the Sponsorship Project. The education side of the project is intended for the
community, in particular the children themselves and the parents.
Purpose of the program
The program is put in place to help certain communities, to feed malnourished children, and in the process educate the people on the importance of proper nutrition. There is the need to educate on the need to reduce on the amount of salt and sugar used in the local diet, and to increase consumption of vegetables. There is limited public education on these issues.
Role of the Volunteer
The volunteer will be supervised by the local coordinator and work alongside one or two other nutrition volunteers.
Depending on the site to which the volunteer is assigned to, he/she may work either in the morning or afternoon but always only half a day from Monday to Friday except during holidays for at least 4 hours daily.
The volunteer is responsible for providing meals to the children on a daily basis. He/she will plan the menu taking into consideration the nutritional deficiencies that need to be addressed. He/she will purchase local ingredients available at the market to supplement the nutritional needs of the children. He/she will monitor the kids’ progress by measuring their height and weight to calculate the BMI.
In addition, the volunteer must teach the kids proper hand-washing and brushing teeth after meals at the beginning of the project and continue to practice this the whole time. It is the aim to instill good practices to them.
With regards to planning menus, volunteers must take into consideration the locally available resources the kids normally eat. Primarily the reason is that the kids would only eat food they are used to eating. Secondly, parents are more likely not able to afford vegetables and other food items not normally available locally. The project aims to educate the parents in such a way that they can replicate at home what the volunteers are making in the project.
Every two weeks there is a nutrition lecture for the parents of the children enrolled in the program. We always encourage volunteers to start with basic hygiene and nutrition. Not all the parents have good grasp of the English language so it is imperative that lectures are easy to understand and filled with illustrations. During lectures/workshops a VFV coordinator will be there to assist and translate.
To conform with the Filipino conservative culture and to look professional, volunteers must dress modestly. The volunteer must report to work wearing the appropriate clothes.
Top must consist of shirt of blouse or t-shirt with sleeves. No singlet or tank top. Top should not have plunging neckline. Bottom wear must be long pants or knee-length skirt. Footwear must be shoes or sandals.
Outside work, a volunteer can wear more comfortable article of clothing such as shorts and tank tops and wear flip flops.
Transportation to the Placement
During placement, volunteer will take any of the following public transportation vehicles, depending on their destination: jeepney, multicab, tricycle, or motorcycle. Patience is required when traveling to and from placement.
More common transport vehicles are jeepneys and multicabs. When visiting far-flung areas that do not have jeepneys, people take tricycle or motorcycle.
The minimum fare for a jeepney between Bliss and downtown is only 0.14 USD, while between Bliss and Robinson is 0.16 USD. The further you are from your destination, the more you pay.
Nutrition placements can be reached in about 40 minutes to one and 30 minutes depending on the distance from Bliss.
The Nutrition Program typical work day starts as early as 08:00 in the morning and ends at 12 noon when preparing lunch for the kids and from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm when preparing early dinner, and runs from Monday through Friday. The rest of the day and of the week are free time which the volunteers can use for their personal activities or for any side projects at their placement or the community.
Commuting from homestay going to placement and vice versa means taking the primary modes of public transportation which involves taking both the jeepney/multicab and the "haba-habal" (motorcyle). Getting to the placement could take as long as 45 minutes or as quick as 30 minutes depending on the traffic and the frequency of the vehicles coming by. Same is true with going back from placement.
Food preparation involves planning menus for the week, budgeting, buying local ingredients from the public market, cooking, and washing the dishes. A staff and some of the locals, usually the moms of our sponsored kids, would always assist the volunteer in every aspect of the preparation and the feeding proper.
Apart from the feeding, our volunteers would usually organize fun games or nutrition lectures with the kids. Proper hygiene, healthy eating habits and proper nutrition should always be kept in mind as the end goal in every activity at the nutrition center. Our volunteers should infuse helpful activities to the program ,from the simple proper handwashing and toothbrushing to the more complicated but comprehensible nutrition lectures or workshops, not only for the kids but for the local moms as well.
Monitoring and evaluating the progress of the program is also an important aspect of the volunteer's role. This includes measuring the height and weight of each kid and keeping track of their records to make sure that the are getting the proper nutritional support and care.
sum everything up, it's always a busy day for our volunteers but rest assured
that it's all worth it. The experience has always been satisfying and
fulfilling for everyone and certainly no dull moment for anyone who loves
working for the welfare of the children.
Volunteers can apply anytime all year round and may arrive at anytime of their convenience. Pre-departure information is sent during application process and an in-depth program orientation is also conducted upon arrival.
Our volunteers can use their free time either for their personal activities or for organizing side projects with the kids or with the moms. The former may include a trip to some of the beautiful white-sand beaches and sandbars, islands, waterfalls, underground river, surf camps, and caves found in the region while the latter can include baking sessions with the local moms, dance tutorials with the teens, or teaching any other craft or life skills to the locals. Our volunteers would usually organize those activities as a group during long weekends or holidays. We also have our Volunteer's Lounge which has wi-fi and where volunteers can hang around with fellow volunteers. They can also use the lounge for a movie night once a week.
The following are expected program expenses: airport pickup and drop off, food and drink, accommodation.
Upon arrival in Tacloban, a coordinator will meet you at the airport and introduce you to the rest of the VFV staff and your homestay family. After this you will be provided with a full orientation on Volunteer for the Visayans as well as a short comprehensive health and safety briefing. Following this, you will be escorted by one of our coordinators and shown how to use the local transport system. You will be shown how to get back and forth from your volunteer placement as well as being briefed on how to get to a variety of different points of interest.
You will eat the same local food as the family (though the homestay parents know what foreigners typically enjoy). Homestays can cater to the special dietary requirements of some volunteers, so please include this in your application form. You will also be provided with filtered water to drink, as it would be best for travellers to be cautious and not drink tap water.
You will be provided with two meals a day (breakfast and dinner) by your homestay. All meals will be served with rice and typically include fish, chicken or pork.
Local café’s and restaurants can also be found all over the city, with most meals costing from around 2 USD to 6 USD. Bottled water is also available in most food establishments and in grocery stores.