We are writing to this update to you from one of our health centers, which just graduated 35 mothers from the malnutrition education program. While we work with each enrolled family in our program for one year, a group of about 35 mothers participates in the education portion every three months. In addition to receiving a household food security assessment, seeds for a home garden and technical assistance from a skilled agronomist, each week mothers bring their children in for an education session, which consists of a cooking demonstration and lunch, weighing, work and harvesting vegetables in the health center garden, participation in a savings group, and conversation with our women trainers. The demand for these education sessions is overflowing. This particular group of mothers participated in thirteen training sessions covering topics related to malnutrition, ranging from planting nutritious home gardens, to practicing family planning measures, to treating diarrhea, to taking action against gender-based violence. More importantly, these trainings have inspired actions: over 80% of the women in the program have sought family planning and had HIV tests. All of the groups at our 3 health center partners have initiated savings groups, community gardens and cooperatives. This group of families has harvested a diversity of vegetables from their home gardens after the last season: beets, carrots, cabbage, spinach, maize, beans, orange sweet potatoes. They will continue to plant and harvest for the next season. By the end of the year we still hope to reach 460 families, to give each of them the opportunities that this small group of mothers has had: to take home vegetables and participate in education sessions weekly, to grow more of their own nutritious foods, and to join an inspiring community of families taking tangible initiative towards improving their health.
Thank you for continuing to help us cultivate good food and good health,
Julie and Team
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