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US Ambassador Joins SPRING to Improve Nutrition in Kyrgyz Republic

Ambassador Gwaltney plays with SPRING volunteer’s baby boy (held by SPRING Chief of Party Michael Foley) after discussing the impact good nutrition information will make on their community and the next generation.

US Ambassador Sheila Gwaltney visited the USAID-funded SPRING project in the Naryn Oblast of Kyrgyz Republic on June 8th and 9th.

On June 8th, Ambassador Gwaltney toured a SPRING-supported district hospital that provides maternal and child nutrition services to 68 thousand people, and met with new mothers receiving important counseling regarding the nutrition of their babies.

On June 9th, Ambassador Gwaltney visited Jan-Bulak village in rural Naryn where she visited a health outpost and met with beneficiaries of the SPRING program. She observed health workers counseling women, stating “You are taking care of mothers so they can take the best care of their children.” The Ambassador observed a SPRING volunteer counsel a young mother in her home about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of her child’s life. Ambassador Gwaltney then joined a meeting of local women, facilitated by a SPRING volunteer, to talk about the importance of breastfeeding for better nutrition outcomes, and how others in the home can support mothers so they have sufficient time for breastfeeding throughout the day.

Ambassador Gwaltney met with a group of SPRING volunteers to discuss the importance of the SPRING program in their community. Volunteers explained that they previously did not have information on the proper way to ensure the best nutrition of their mothers and young children. Now, with SPRING, they understand how to prevent malnutrition, and they enjoy sharing what they’ve learned with their friends and neighbors. Ambassador Gwaltney ended her visit with encouraging words about the important work SPRING is doing in partnership with communities to address malnutrition of women and children in Kyrgyzstan. “You are ensuring the children in your community are happy and healthy.”