Nutrition Volunteer Projects in South Africa
- Placement locations: Muizenberg, Cape Town
- Role: To promote a healthy lifestyle to the underprivileged communities we serve through providing nutritious meals, education and raising awareness.
- Types of placements: Community-based
- Accommodation: Host family
- Price: From
- What’s included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
- What’s not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
- Length of placement: From 2 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
Volunteering on Projects Abroad’s Nutrition Project in South Africa is a chance for you to raise awareness of the importance of nutrition and gain meaningful practical experience. Based in Muizenberg, Cape Town (where our Surfing Project is also based) the Nutrition Project focuses on improving nutrition in township communities. These areas are deeply affected by numerous Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), a lack of access to medical care, and high rates of HIV/AIDS. By providing nutritious meals and conducting assessments, screenings, and workshops, we are aiming to help those facing these challenges.
You don’t need previous experience to participate. All you need is an interest in healthy living and be committed to the communities you are working with. You can get involved as part of a gap year, career break, or summer placement. This is a great option for pre-med students looking to gain experience in an alternative field of medicine.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our South Africa Nutrition Management Plan.
Your Role as an Intern on the Nutrition Project
The Nutrition Project involves a variety of different activities in multiple locations in Cape Town. Your main role will be to prepare meals for people at the Surfing Project. The children who attend these sessions are often either overweight or malnourished. You will get involved in the following activities every day:
- Preparing a healthy meal for the children and young adults attending surfing classes
- Delivering selected ingredients for meals to care centres.
- Facilitating and playing educational activities and games with the children
- Facilitating group nutrition sessions for groups of adults.
- Assisting with the collection of body measurements and biochemical data (for example, testing blood sugar levels) for patients and groups of people.
- Conducting individual nutritional consultations (when required). These will always be supervised and done with patient consent.
- Planting and maintaining a herb and vegetable garden
- Monitoring the physical growth of children at our partner care centres.
- Preparing educational and promotional material
- Running education sessions with children, staff and parents at our partner care centres (the goal of this activity is to reduce cases of malnutrition and obesity by educating people about proper nutrition).
- Marketing project services on social media
There are also various weekly and monthly activities at our partner organisations. Every week, you will travel to care centres for children ages 1-5 to deliver food and give caregivers a workshop on cooking healthy meals. The children at these centres do not receive regular nutritious meals and are at risk of stunting. This food is purchased with the hope that they will benefit from a healthy meal each day.
Other weekly activities include visiting Where Rainbows Meet to advise those attending the foundation's counselling unit. The people attending the unit are often affected by illnesses such as HIV, tuberculosis, and various NCDs, and are in desperate need of specific dietary advice. An improved diet can drastically improve their lives. You can also get involved in nutrition workshops at another organisation in Vrygrond, and participate in yoga, Zumba, and walking sessions with members of the community.
Every month, we also work with a chronic disease group at Where Rainbows Meet. Once a week, our Projects Abroad nutrition supervisor and the volunteers meet the group for a nutrition education class and an exercise session. Once a month, the group's blood glucose levels and blood pressure readings are taken and the height and weight of each patient is recorded. Volunteers also assist at the Village Heights women's health club, where we run education and exercise classes.
At the beginning of each quarter, we will hold community events to further promote the Nutrition Project in Muizenberg. Each event will focus on the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle. These events often vary in nature and could include sporting events or cooking competitions, for example.
During your time at the Nutrition Project, you will be supervised by a qualified dietitian, who works full-time.
Take note, however, this is not a community nutrition placement with no clinical work included whatsoever.