Help nourish 300 Ugandan children!

 
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Sarah, a mother of six, feeds her child Ekitobeero
Sarah, a mother of six, feeds her child Ekitobeero

Preventing malnutrition is something that Edesia is particularly focused on, and you may be interested to know that we are the only factory in the United States that makes peanut-based, ready-to-use food products to prevent malnutrition and stunted growth in children under the age of two.

Yesterday I received a firsthand account and two photos from the team on the ground in Uganda who is helping monitor the distribution of Ekitobeero, the product that we made here in Rhode Island and shipped over. It provides a wonderful glimpse into the impact this project is having on children (and their mothers). 

Sarah Nayebare (Not her real name) is a mother of six. She stays in Paragoni village in Kabugu, Ruhiira parish, Isingiro district in Western Uganda. She is a peasant farmer and also runs a small shop in the trading centre, that’s how she provides food and other basic needs for her family. Rita, her 12-month old beautiful girl has been feeding on Ekitobeero as a supplement to her diet since she started eating food at six months.

When asked how she prepares the food, she replies,’ I prepare the usual foods, mix the Ekitobeero in the warm food and then feed the child. She adds, ‘This food is good as it does not need any cooking before feeding the child, so even in the rainy season when firewood is scarce or wet making cooking difficult, my baby can still eat the Ekitobeero without adding me an extra dish to cook. She really likes it and will finish the one sachet she is to eat per day. She can even recognize the sachet and will ‘demand to eat’ for it when she sees the sachet.’ Sarah says that her little girl is very healthy and growing well which she attributes to feeding her the Ekitobeero. 

Thank you again for your continued support of this important project benefitting children in Uganda. 

Sarah feeds her child Ekitobeero in rural Uganda
Sarah feeds her child Ekitobeero in rural Uganda
A focus group of mothers and children
A focus group of mothers and children

The following is a first-hand account of how Ekitobeero is impacting the mothers and children in the Ruhiira region of Uganda. Written by Praneetha Vissapragada, an intern, it was just received today, along with some photos she took with her phone, which I also wanted to share. 

“Do you like Ekitobeero?” I asked the quietly attentive room.

“Yes” they said in unison, the word ringing in the air.

This happened yesterday in Nyakitunda health center during a focus group on Ekitobeero I conducted with 15 mothers receiving Ekitobeero. The mothers arrived in the small room of cement walls; the room damp from the rain outside amplifying the smell of the wooden benches and dirt on the floor.

The 15 mothers were of varying age; the youngest in her early 20s and the oldest in her 40s.  Some of the mothers had their babies with them cradled in their arms and cooed into being quiet during the hour-long focus group.

All of these women work on small farms and spend most of their day hurrying to plant matoke, or green bananas, during the short rainy season.

Most of them walk from these fields or their houses, sometimes an hour away, on muddy roads winding across hills to make it to Ekitobeero distribution.

When I asked what challenges these mothers faced, one mother, rocking her child in her lap, said in the local language, “The challenge is having enough food to feed your child. Sometimes even when there is food, there is no firewood to cook the food. When it rains at night, the wood is too wet to use for cooking so at times we cannot cook until dinner.”

This happens once or twice a week.

For me, it makes me question how much we take for granted.  Having grown up in the States, depending on rain and wood for meals everyday seems like a reality that would not exist in 2014. It strikes me that this not a page out of a history book but is daily life in Nyakitunda.

In this context where meals are uncertain, Ekitobeero serves as more than a supplement. It represents a guarantee that her 6-month child will have at least something to eat when the mother cannot provide food on her own.
This is the reality in the Nyakitunda and the many other villages in Ishingiro South District, where Ekitobeero serves as security against the rains and the harvest.

The resounding “yes” in that health center room now is much more understandable.

A mother and child enrolled in the program
A mother and child enrolled in the program
Ekitobeero made by Edesia in Uganda
Ekitobeero made by Edesia in Uganda
A mother and child from Uganda
A mother and child from Uganda

I wanted to give you a brief update on the project in rural Uganda, where it's the rainy season right now. Despite the unique challenges that come during the rainy season, feeding continues at the Millenium Village site and Edesia was able to ship another 154 boxes to the village on September 18, 2014. There are currently 267 children receiving Ekitobeero, but the project's leaders are planning to extend enrollment to hit the target of reaching 300 children.

Why is their malnutrition in the villages of the Ruhiira region in Uganda? Why is a product like Ekitobeero so imporant? To learn more about the community, and why 30-40% of children are underweight, please click on the link below.

Thank you so much for your continued partnership with us to help break the cycle of poverty in this Ugandan village, by giving children the nourishment they need to fulfill their full potential.

To learn more about Edesia's work to help children through other ready-to-use food products, please visit us at www.edesiaglobal.org.

Thank you!

Links:

Child eating Ekitobeero in Uganda
Child eating Ekitobeero in Uganda

Thank you for supporting our project to help nourish 300 Ugandan children. We just received a quarterly progress report from our Millenium Village partner in Uganda. They shared with us the above photo of a happy, healthy child eating Ekitobeero along with the encouraging news that the project is going very well: 

"The feeding interventions are going well. Every four weeks, caregivers of enrolled child participants are able to pick up food supplements at their nearest health facility. At the ‘food distribution’ day, a demonstration of how to prepare and feed the supplement is provided for newly enrolled caregivers. In addition, the Community Health Workers (CHWs) use their counseling cards and instructional handouts to encourage improved Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices more generally and to ensure that the caregivers continue breastfeeding and practice good hygiene behaviors. The instructional handouts are translated into Runyankore, the local language, and provided to caregivers at their first pick up take home. All groups receive the IYCF handout along with the instructional handout for their particular feeding intervention."

To date, 206 Ugandan children have received Ekitobeero. This number is expected to grow when a second shipment of Ekitobeero is received in November.

Thank you again for supporting this important project to help Uganda children not only survive but thrive. We will update you with further progress reports later this year.

Ekitobeero distribution in rural Uganda
Ekitobeero distribution in rural Uganda

Edesia is very proud be partnering with the Millennium Villages Project to help enhance nutrition for young children living in rural Uganda.  

Well nourished children, especially in the first 1,000 days of life, from conception to the age of two, will grow to their full height and cognitive potential. This leads to lifelong success, in terms of better outcomes in school and less frequent visits to the health clinic. 

Just to give you a brief update on the project you so generously supported, the first shipment of Ekitobeero was delivered to the villages in January of this year. I'm attaching a photo of the distribution process. 

As you can imagine, education is absolutley the key to the success of any nutritional program, which is why I also want to share that there were 68 community health workers trained on how to mix Ekitobeero in with other foods and then explain this process to parents. 

We are so grateful for your support of this important project, which has the potential to strengthen not only 300 children in Uganda, but the community as a whole. Thank you again. 

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Organization

Edesia, Inc.

Providence, RI, United States
http://www.edesiaglobal.org

Project Leader

Heidi Reed

Providence, RI United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Help nourish 300 Ugandan children!