The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

General Operating Support for Nutrition Distance Learning Courses

Grant Information
Categories Healthcare
Location International
Cycle Year 2020
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) SPOON
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Samhita Reddy
Phone 503-954-2524
135 SE Main St. Suite 201
Additional Information
Used for SPOON requests a grant of $10,000 to support general operations. SPOON will use funding from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation to support our efforts to develop, refine, and deploy a remote training model to bolster the efficacy, scale, and accessibility of our programs during COVID-19 and beyond. General operating funds will allow SPOON to be responsive to the shifting needs of our beneficiaries so that highly vulnerable children receive nutrition support during this time of reduced services due to COVID-19.
Benefits SPOON is leading the global effort to transform nutrition and feeding for children who are often left behind: children living outside of family care and children with disabilities. By providing training, tools, and resources, we address both what and how children are fed so malnutrition rates decrease and feeding practices improve. By supporting SPOON’s transition to remote program delivery, funding will help SPOON ensure that the unique feeding and nutrition needs of these children are met during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, ultimately contributing to the creation of a world where all children have the best chance possible to grow and thrive.
Proposal Description SPOON’s mission is to nourish children who are highly vulnerable to malnutrition by empowering their caregivers around the globe. We are leading the global effort to transform nutrition and feeding for children who are often left behind: children living outside of family care and children with disabilities. These groups of children have higher rates of malnutrition than their peers. Children with disabilities are three times more likely to be malnourished, and SPOON has found rates of malnutrition up to 90% for children in residential care facilities around the world. For these children, malnutrition is usually driven by a lack of accessible and appropriate nutrition support and health services adapted to their unique feeding and nutrition needs. Proper nutrition powers children to grow, develop, and thrive, and with 290 million children with disabilities and tens of millions of children living without family care globally, SPOON’s expertise is desperately needed.

At SPOON, we know that many of the nutritional challenges vulnerable children face have existing solutions that are simply not reaching them. Through our programs in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America, SPOON provides training, tools, and resources to empower caregivers to meet the specific needs of children living outside of family care and those with disabilities so that they can reach their full potential. Through our trainings, we teach how to assess and monitor three areas critical to children’s health: growth, anemia, and feeding. One of our primary tools, an app called Count Me In, supports caregivers in assessing these areas over time and recommends individualized, evidence-based interventions when problems are identified. As caregivers learn techniques in our trainings and utilize Count Me In to add them to their daily routines, malnutrition rates decrease.

COVID-19 has significantly impacted, and will continue to impact, the children that SPOON serves. Most immediately, their group living situations and chronic health issues exacerbate their risk of contracting COVID-19. Further, lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders impact their access to medical care and community services that address their health, nutrition, and feeding needs. The nutrition sector has stepped up to advocate for nutrition as a central part of the response to COVID-19, but only a truly equitable response will protect the vulnerable children who need it most. Without addressing the unique nutrition and feeding needs of children living outside of family care and those with disabilities, responses to COVID-19 may exacerbate existing inequities by leaving millions of children without the nutrition support they need. It is imperative that health and nutrition services continue to reach vulnerable children.

Prior to 2020, SPOON’s success in decreasing malnutrition was built on in-person trainings. COVID-19 has rendered in-person activities impossible, but the high-risk population of children we serve continues to have unique needs that must be met. We quickly adapted our classroom trainings into dynamic online courses and have provided training to partners in Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Our new model has proven so successful that we are shifting permanently. Although we will provide some in-person support once restrictions on travel and meetings are lifted, going forward the majority of our trainings, even here in the U.S., will be conducted through online distance learning.

SPOON respectfully requests a grant of $10,000 to support general operations. In this rapidly changing context as a result of COVID-19, general operating funds will allow us to be responsive to the changing needs of our beneficiaries as we develop, refine, and deploy our remote training model to bolster the efficacy, scale, and accessibility of our programs during the pandemic and beyond. Funds will allow us to:

- Finish converting our in-person nutrition and feeding trainings to online courses, resulting in a comprehensive training package. Examples of courses that are now available for our partners to take online include “Nutrition for Children, “Assessing Growth,” “Developmental Feeding Skills,” “Screening Children for Feeding Difficulties,” and “Introduction to Disability.” For comprehensive training, we still need to complete the package with additional feeding and nutrition courses as well as courses that teach our partners how to independently use our app to assess and monitor children. In the long term, we will share our training package with a variety of larger domestic and international development organizations. Our investment in remote programming will ultimately expand our ability to serve more vulnerable children in the future, even after the restrictions of the pandemic have lifted.
- Disseminate our online courses through existing partnerships. Our goal is to integrate our training package into programs in at least four countries, including the U.S., as part of our global programming by December 2021. SPOON has strong partnerships with community and governmental organizations built over several years of working alongside one another to reach vulnerable children. We will work with these partners to continue to provide feeding and nutrition best practices and ensure that the children in our programs do not fall behind once again.
- Disseminate our online courses through new partnerships. We will develop a plan to scale to new audiences beginning in 2022. Because millions of children around the world could benefit from our specialized tools, trainings, and resources, it is imperative that we reach out to organizations already serving these children and share our tools to extend our reach so that more children stay nourished.

As we plan a comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that the most vulnerable children are included in policies and programming in order to create equitable and inclusive environments where they can stay healthy and meet their full potential. SPOON is grateful for this opportunity to request funding from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation. We appreciate your consideration and welcome any questions or requests for additional information.