No javascript detected! Our online shopping basket requires javascript. You can also complete your order by phone at 855.9HUNGER
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security. You can also complete your order by phone at 855.9HUNGER
Akoto Osei
Akoto Osei

Interview by Molly Fincher, World Ark writer

Many Heifer projects around the world aim to improve nutrition for children. The School Milk Program in Tanzania featured in this issue is an overnight success story, boosting attendance rates, attention spans and energy levels. Heifer International Technical Director for Nutrition Akoto Osei knows a lot about the benefi ts and potential challenges of this kind of program. Osei earned a doctoral degree in food policy and applied nutrition from Tufts University, and he’s worked to improve diets and health in many countries across Africa and Asia. Here’s what he had to say about the benefits of dairy foods for children.

WORLD ARK: What are the benefits of dairy foods for children? Are there any drawbacks?
AKOTO OSEI: Milk and dairy products are benefi cial to children because these foods promote growth and development. Milk and dairy products are high in energy, high-quality proteins and micronutrients including calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin B2 and folate. If fortified, milk can also be a rich source of vitamin D.

Milk also boosts body levels of a hormone that is essential for growth in children. So drinking milk can promote linear growth and weight gain while addressing defi ciencies of several micronutrients. Milk consumption can also improve various developmental outcomes, including bone and brain development. Making milk available to children in developing countries is particularly important because the quality of diets for some children in these countries is low, and many families have limited access to animal-based proteins.

However, it’s important to remember that milk isn’t a silver bullet for nutrition. Unfortified cow’s milk is low in iron, an important nutrient for child development. Some studies also suggest that the high calcium content of cow’s milk can inhibit iron absorption from the diet. Cow’s milk is also known to be low in vitamin C. While goat’s milk can provide some of the nutritional necessities that cow’s milk lacks, it is important to note that cow’s milk is high in folate, while goat’s milk contains low amounts of folate.

Boy smiles while drinking milk in South America

Are there any safety concerns with children drinking milk?
Although milk can be an essential source of nutrients to young children, providing milk to young children should be done in a manner that does not interfere with breastfeeding. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life. It is highly recommended that, unless pasteurized, raw milk should not be fed to children to be safe. And some children suffer from cow’s milk allergy when given milk, which can cause itching, skin rashes, edema, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

What about lactose intolerance?
People with lactose intolerance cannot effciently digest lactose because the body does not have the ability to produce enough lactase, the enzyme used for digesting milk in the body. This can cause symptoms such as abdominal pains, bloating, diarrhea, nausea and gas. Often, one’s ability to produce lactase decreases with age. The condition often develops in childhood, but the age of onset varies and is related to the extent of exposure to dairy products. The majority of people with lactose intolerance don’t begin to experience major problems eating dairy and milk until adolescence or adulthood.

What kind of benefits are you seeing among children with newfound access to dairy foods?
In areas where diet quality is poor and intake of animal-sourced foods is limited, incorporating milk and dairy products into the diets of young children improves health and nutritional status and boosts physical growth and weight gain. Heifer International and its partner organizations in Tanzania have done a good job of increasing the supply and availability of milk, meaning there is more potential for people in these communities, especially the children, to tap into the nutritional benefits.

Providing a daily dose of milk to schoolchildren is a positive move not only because it makes students healthier, but also because the program can positively infl uence social development outcomes such as school enrollment, attendance and academic performance. It’s not unreasonable to say that this school milk program may ultimately boost employment opportunities and incomes for the students involved.

Free Download

You only need to enter this information once to download digital resources.

Basket Summary

edit
Your gift will be matched!

{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle }}

Qty: {{ product.quantity }} @ {{ product.price | currency }} Qty: {{ product.quantity }} @ FREE Monthly
{{ (product.quantity * product.price) | currency }} Free

No products in cart.

Additional Impact {{ processingFee | currency }} Sub-total {{ cartSubTotal | currency }} Shipping Cost {{ orderShippingCost | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Tax Cost {{ orderTax | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Total {{ cartTotal | currency }} Monthly Total {{ cartSubscriptionTotal | currency }}

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

edit

Billing Address

{{ billingAddress.first_name }} {{ billingAddress.last_name }} {{ billingAddress.address_1 }} {{ billingAddress.address_2 }} {{ billingAddress.city }}, {{ billingAddress.state }} {{ billingAddress.zip }} {{ billingAddress.country }}

Company

{{ billingAddress.company }}

Shipping Address

{{ shippingAddress.first_name }} {{ shippingAddress.last_name }} {{ shippingAddress.address_1 }} {{ shippingAddress.address_2 }} {{ shippingAddress.city }}, {{ shippingAddress.state }} {{ shippingAddress.zip }} {{ shippingAddress.country }}
edit

Shipping Method

{{ orderShippingOption.description }}

Basket Summary

Step 1 of 2 Step 1 of 3 Step 1 of 4
Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
Your gift will be matched!
Your basket has been updated.
The following item(s) are now sold-out or unavailable and have been removed from your cart:
-{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle}} ({{ product.quantity}})

{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle }} To: {{ product.giftCardRecipientName }} From: {{ product.giftCardSenderPrint }} Email: {{ product.giftCardRecipientEmail }} Delivery: {{ product.giftCardDeliveryDate }} Message: {{ product.giftCardMessage | truncate '200' }} Activation Code: {{ product.giftCardCode }} Delivery: {{ product.additional_info['deliveryDate'] }} Message: {{ product.additional_info['personalMessage'] | truncate '200' }} 1 {{prods["title"]}}

{{ (product.quantity * product.price) | currency }}/month
You've reached the maximum number of products for this item.
You've reached the maximum number of products for this item.
${{ product.price }}
$ {{ product.price }} Free
Remove
Great! We'll help you set up your free Honor Card after your donation is complete.

Gift Message

Personalize your message up to 5 lines in length.

Preview

heifer.org
Subtotal {{ cartSubTotal | currency }}
Monthly Subtotal {{ cartSubscriptionTotal | currency }}
It's not a hand out. It's a hand up.

For maximum impact, try adding a few items to your basket.

Browse The Gift Catalog
Secured Checkout

Increase Your Impact with a Donation Visit the Gift Catalog

Make an even bigger impact with a donation from our Gift Catalog

Responsibly-Sourced, Artisan-Friendly Gifts Shop the Marketplace

Shop the Marketplace for responsibly-sourced, artisan-friendly gifts
Secured Checkout
Continue Shopping
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 2 Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 4
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted
All major credit cards accepted
Shipping Information

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Shipping Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 4
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted
All major credit cards accepted
Billing Information
Enter your company name to see if your employer will match your gift.

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Billing Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 4
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted
All major credit cards accepted
Billing Information
Enter your company name to see if your employer will match your gift.

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Billing Address
Shipping Information

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Shipping Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[2].title }}

Step 3 of 3 Step 3 of 3 Step 3 of 4 Select shipping method. Orders after 12:00 PM CST will be shipped the next business day. Orders on Saturday or Sunday will be shipped the next business day.
{{shippingOption.description}} ${{shippingOption.shippingCost}}
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary Edit {{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Payment Information

Step 3 of 3 Step 3 of 3 Step 4 of 4
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted
All major credit cards accepted

Payment Summary

Additional Impact {{ processingFee | currency }} Sub-total {{ cartSubTotal | currency }} Shipping Cost {{ orderShippingCost | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Tax Cost {{ orderTax | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Total {{ cartTotal | currency }} Monthly Total {{ cartSubscriptionTotal | currency }}

Pay By Credit Card
Pay with
Pay with
We were not able to process your request. Please try again or contact Donor Services at 855.9HUNGER (855.948.6437).
Secured Checkout