Wishing Dr. Mary Jane Oakland a Happy Birthday!

A Message from the Rev. Dr. Mary Jane Oakland: 

It’s now been six years since Benjamin Kusi, SHI Ghana Country Director, asked me a question: “Dr. Oakland, our nutritionist tells me that a high percentage of the children in villages with school feeding programs are stunted. What can we do about that?” 


That conversation marked the beginning of bringing the needed nutrition and agriculture education to very rural villages and support for Growing Healthy Food, Growing Healthy Children (GHFGHC).


I am so very grateful that I was able to travel back to Ghana again last month with Nora Tobin and Kassi Bailey.  We visited the villages in the Kumasi area where we have worked with the mothers and their babies since before the pandemic, a new village where the GHFGHC intervention started last year, and communities in the Upper West, the newest region where SHI is helping families better feed themselves.


During our visit to the public hospital in Kumasi where babies with severe malnutrition are treated, we heard from skilled staff about the lack of resources available to them to adequately treat severe cases. That conversation highlighted the importance of our work to more adequately meet the nutritional needs of infants and all family members in the surrounding rural villages – both today and long-term.


I am grateful to continue to work with the talented and dedicated nutrition team in Ghana, as well as Doris Montgomery, nutritionist and SHI Board member, to support the staff to continue this important work.


Witnessing first-hand the ways SHI is weaving nutrition into the foundation of our work with teen girls’ clubs, school agriculture clubs, and micro-credit training programs was as heart warming as the number of candles on my birthday cake this year. 

Celebrate Dr. Oakland’s Birthday by giving a gift of $80 today in honor of her 80th Birthday!

Last year, we celebrated Dr. Oakland’s birthday in Jirapa, Ghana with a delicious six tier birthday cake (pictured above).

This year, instead of celebrating with cake, join us in celebrating Dr. Oakland’s *big* birthday by making a gift that will offer nutritious foods to help moms grow healthy infants during this this dry season.  


$80 can support one mother and infant in the Growing Healthy Food, Growing Healthy Children program for four months


Dr. Oakland Receives Surprise Certificate from SHI Ghana staff! 

Congratulations to the Rev. Dr. Mary Jane Oakland on another amazing year around the sun. Dr. Oakland has served on Self-Help International’s Board of Directors since 2005, working to advance human nutrition for programs serving rural communities in Nicaragua and Ghana. 

During a meeting in the village of Abompe last month, surrounded by lactation coaches, grandmothers, mothers and infants, SHI Ghana staff presented Dr. Oakland with a certificate in honor of her dedication to ensuring communities have proper nutrition. The certificate reads: 

It is with great pleasure and deep admiration that we recognize your dedication, vision, and unwavering commitment to the Growing Healthy Food, Growing Healthy Children program. Your expertise and compassion for improving the health and well-being of mothers and children have truly set you apart.

Your remarkable achievements reflect not only your passion for your profession but also your exceptional sells at understanding and addressing the unique nutritional needs of both mothers and their little ones. It is evident that you have made a positive impact on the lives of many families around the world by fostering healthier beginnings and brighter futures. 

Your dedication to pediatric and maternal nutrition is an inspiration to us all. Hence we are proud to celebrate you. As we celebrate your well-deserved recognition, please know that your contributions are valued and appreciated. May this be just one of your many more accomplishment in your remarkable career. 

We wish you continued success, fulfilment, and countless more opportunities to make a positive impact on the lives of more mothers and babies around the world. Ayekoo/Congratulations!