Healthy Diets for Healthy Communities in Cameroon
We are so thankful for the increased support we have received from our supporters over the last few months. We truly could not do this without you. The nutrition program continues to draw much interest and we hope to deliver this program to all the communities seeking to improve their overall nutritional health and well-being. To do this, we need to keep promoting the program locally and raising support internationally. Through Global Giving and our generous supporters, we are able to make incremental steps towards reaching our goals for healthier communities in Cameroon.
Now that the rainy season has drawn to its conclusion, the dryer weather is allowing us to fully implement our nutritional endeavors with the remote communities of Akwaya.
The Bomaka Women’s Group and the Ngie Women’s Common Interest Group continued to work through the fourth phase of the nutrition program in partnership with FORUDEF staff. This included continuing to plant, harvest, consume, and sell the produce from the group nurseries. As such, these groups now have the skills and expertise to continue integrating healthy eating into their lives on their own, with FORUDEF continuing to provide expertise and support when needed.
The Feed Well, Feed Right, Feel Healthy program’s radio broadcasts have continued to garner excellent support from the public and attract new interest from around the region. The radio broadcast is proving to be one of the most effective ways of educating the public in a broad sense, and inspiring discussions around healthy eating.
Work in Progress
The Green Hills CIG and Bonakanda Women CIG continued to participate in the first phase of the nutrition program. FORUDEF staff led these groups through training workshops where they discussed local illnesses related to malnutrition, the role of nutrition in health, and local foods and resources that contain essential nutrients. Both groups gave excellent workshop reviews, and left inspired and equipped with the base knowledge to begin improving the dietary health of their families and community.
We want to extend our gratitude for your support of our work in building stronger, healthier families and communities. We truly believe that community building is a collaborative process with different groups contributing in different ways to the change that we have seen in rural villages all across the Southwest region of Cameroon. And, this could not happen without your valuable contributions.
Nutrition Report on Healthy Diets in Akwaya
It was time to provide groundnut and vegetable seeds for the women to plant. These seeds were planted in different seasons and zones in our project areas. After training in the hall, the women were drilled on practicals from preparing the farm, nursery and planting the seeds. (see pictures)
Distribution of Seeds
The team of FORUDEF staff met with the women’s groups and distributed groundnut and vegetable seeds. e have added the piggery component to the nutrition programme. This time we have bought two piglets still to be given to a group for beginning of protein guarantee on diet.
Access to Akwaya area remains a challenge to us as the roads are very bad. We have to trek most of the times. The change in seasons also posed a problem for planting some crops. The effects of climate are glaring out here. We are driving the population to adaptation actions, as well as actions to mitigate the effects of climate change. Again, our activities time frames are affected by the difficulty of inaccessibility
The groundnut was distributed and the next trip will be for the distribution of beans for the women in Akwaya. It is not yet time to plant beans and vegetable. However, for the women in Bomaka it was time to plant vegetable. In our next report of the monitoring visit, we would see the vegetable growing already. The women appreciate the change process in their diet. The radio programme to spread the message at rural communities in pidgin language is an added flavor to the spread of nutrition values. So far we have reached more than 600 women with nutrition training. We thank our GlobalGiving donors immensely.
Transportation Akwaya (2 pers, hire of bikes, bus, and canoe crossing)
Planting seeds materials (4 buckets groundnut)
Feeding (8 days)
Vegetable seeds Bomaka women
Taxi fare to farm Bomaka (4 staff)
Material for training (cardboards, bold markers)
Snacks for workshops
Radio Programme on Nutrition
Piglets (special protein project for Tole women)
FORUDEF’s nutrition program continues to generate growing interest and support in the Buea and Akwaya Subdivision, and we are thrilled with the movement that is being generated to empower individuals with the knowledge and tools needed to create healthy families and vibrant communities. We are currently implementing the nutrition program in villages throughout Akwaya, with positive responses from individuals and communities alike. We truly believe that providing nutritional information and methods are having tangible health benefits in rural communities where they are most needed.
We are planning to further expand the program, and raise the required funds, to specifically focus on supporting single mothers and their young families. We anticipate posting additional reports as our team returns from their work in the field, and we hope that you will be inspired by, and continue to support, meaningful initiatives in Cameroon at the grassroots level.
Through better nutrition and education, we are continuing to affect a positive change.
Nutrition Report on Healthy Diets (Training) in Akwaya
After a test phase of the nutrition program in some villages and groups around Buea Subdivision of Cameroon, the program was now taken to Akwaya Subdivision where malnutrition and under nutrition are most pronounced and endemic.
Some of the villages in Akwaya that the nutrition program was conducted in were: Ote, Bachama, Bandolo, Kelou, Tava and Eshobi. A total of eight women’s groups participated in the training of phase one, phase two was not conducted since the groups size were not too large, and phase three with the cooking practice. A total of 82 women and 2 men were trained in 3 training workshops conducted in 3 villages. All the group members were very active to learn new ways of preparing food that will help to curb diseases among their children and families.
2. PART ONE
Unlike other communities, the Akwaya subdivision of Cameroon is difficult to access. During the preparatory segment of the training, the objectives were:
2.2 EXPECTED RESULTS
3. PLANNED ACTIVITIES
In line with the ‘methodology guide’ of FORUDEF, activities during the preparatory part of this training included the following:
All of these were done in one day in the different villages.
4. THE PROCESS – PART ONE
4.1 MEETING/CONTACT VISITS
On arrival in each village, we presented ourselves to the different communities’ leaders. They were welcoming in all the cases. Taking time off was not anything they would want to do but they understood the need for the women to be part of the nutrition training.
4.2 FORGING COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP
We talked to the community representatives about our mission. The emphasis was on our concern about the malnutrition and under nutrition situation in Akwaya Subdivision and how much it was affecting the lives of children and pregnant women. We gave some examples of the causes and effects of malnutrition and under nutrition of children and pregnant women using some posters prepared by FORUDEF staff.
4.3 SET COMMUNITY INDICATORS
The indicators included the mobilization of women and active participation. All the villages simply used town criers and group announcements to inform their members.
4.4 GATHERING OF INFORMATION
During our meetings, discussions revealed that they have the following as their staple food and all was prepared in the same way. Problems in their communities included ignorance and illiteracy.
These accomplishments were a reflection of the work done on Day One in the different villages. Training followed the next day in all the villages.
6. THE PROCESS – PART TWO
FORUDEF strategy is designed to cause the women to appreciate the gravity and danger inherent in malnutrition in Akwaya Subdivision and to participate in the fight against it.
During the implementation of phases 1-3, the objectives were:
6.2 EXPECTED RESULTS
6.3 PARTICIPANTS EXPECTATIONS
6.4 PARTICIPANTS FEARS
7. THE TRAINING PROCESS
In the three villages, the FORUDEF team of facilitators was presented and introduced to the women groups by the team leader. This was followed by an icebreaking activity, usually a song. The objectives, programme and methodology of the training were explained and discussed.
The chief facilitator Mrs. Tabe Susan went on to ask the participants to list some of the foods they consumed on daily basis and the common illnesses that attack their children in their respective communities.
7.1 Common foods consumed
7.2 Common sicknesses in Akwaya Subdivision
From the different kinds of food consumed in the different communities, it was realized that the notion of feeding in these communities was to eat and get full, known in pidgin as, “chop flop”. This was not because they did not have the food that were to be consumed to give them healthy diet, but that they were ignorant and did not know how to use it effectively. Secondly, it was a way of feeding in their community that they inherited from their own parents. Through the discussions and observations, we noticed that almost all the children, pregnant women and nursing mothers in these communities suffered from malnutrition. The participants confirmed that whenever a child or a pregnant woman was sick, they easily went anaemic.
The situation of malnutrition in some villages in Akwaya Sub Division was made known to the participants of all the three communities. The chief facilitator, Mrs Tabe Susan, stated FORUDEF’s concern about the situation in her strategic plan. During this expose, she described the structure put in place by FORUDEF to fight against malnutrition. With this information and what was expected of the participants, the chief facilitator and Ms Pamela Orock,ushered the participants into the “house” analogy. In every training session, the participants were asked the question: “what will happen if you build a house with a strong foundation and no roof nor strong walls?
The house analogy and questions propelled the participants into discovering the problem of malnutrition in their communities as the following were identified on the part of the participants without difficulty:
The women were informed that to feed healthy, one had to consume a balanced diet every day, which includes three types of food namely, carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins and minerals.
After drilling the women on what constituted a balanced diet, Ms Orock Pamela explained to the participants consequences of balanced and unbalanced diet. She used the chart containing two children where one child had a balanced diet and the other does not have. From the diagram, it shows that children who are poorly fed/unbalanced diet will suffer from the following:
Children who are fed with balanced diet every day would have the following as results:
7.3 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
This session was interspersed with the following questions and answers:
The next part of the training was the practical:
In every village, this session was a special one for the women as they were eager to learn how to prepare healthy diet as this would help to curb down diseases for their children and the rest of the family members. The turnout was very encouraging.
This was a way of socializing as every woman was happy to prepare and share a common meal with others. The women prepared the following dishes; boiled banana, yam, cocoyam and mango soup. The dishes prepared by FORUDEF served as model for they were cheap, healthy and locally available. Groundnut and beans were demonstrated as cost-effective protein source, which can replace fish and meat. The beans were prepared with onions, smoked crayfish, and small quantity of unbleached palm oil since they cannot afford vegetable oil. Groundnut soup was prepared with smoked fish, sweet bitter leaf (vegetable), palm oil, salt, maggi and onions. Vegetables soup was prepared with groundnut, smoked fish, crayfish, onions and palm oil. Also, FORUDEF prepared hotpot with green banana, groundnut, smoked fish and vegetable. Lastly, the women were taught how to prepare groundnut paste, which was the first time for most of the women to see. The dishes were spiced with salt, maggi and pepper. During the preparation, other recipes were exchanged. Ms Pamela Orock pointed out that nutrients get lost when vegetables are over boiled; hence, the women were encouraged to always prepare their vegetables green just as they saw during the practical demonstrations. Also, the team emphasised hygiene during food preparation.
In plenary, following cooking practice in each of the villages, the women were asked to explain what they had identified as new from the ways they prepared their food. The women discovered better ways of preparing food for their children and families using their locally grown crops. The food prepared by the women groups and FORUDEF staff was shared among the participants, children and visitors. Since this was orange fruit season, in all the villages that training took place, they provided us with enough oranges which were taken after meals.
We encountered enormous difficulties during the exercise. The roads were bad, and transport cost was high because of rainy season. There was also the problem of illiteracy besides the difficulties in accessibility, which required more effort on our part to get the message across.
In spite of these challenges, the training went well as the women were really interested to study and to improve their diets. In all the villages that the training took place, FORUDEF promised to supply the women’s groups with groundnuts and bean seeds during the planting season but on the basis that they must have prepared their farms for planting. The women rewarded us with gifts and they promised to change from their old feeding habits.
We are excited to report that we have fully raised our project goal of $3800! We are thankful for your continued encouragement and support, and for taking an interest in supporting meaningful change in communities in Cameroon.
The nutrition program has continued to expand, and experience success in the communities where it is being implemented. The nutrition program is currently being implemented in one village and in one school district, and is ready to be implemented in seven villages.
The nutrition program is in the 4th stage in Bomaka village, where the participants are growing groundnuts as a way of increasing their access to protein-rich food, with the assistance and guidance of FORUDEF staff. Throughout May, June, and July, participants worked with FORUDEF staff to clear and prepare land for their shared groundnut crop, to plant, and to grow the groundnut seeds. Crops will be harvested in the coming weeks, with the planting and growing seasons having advanced successfully. The members of this group also participated in a groundnut oil extraction activity, where they learned to transform groundnuts into its oil form, a much healthier alternative to the palm oil most commonly used in Cameroon.
Participants say they are improving on their intake of right food since they have the basic food types and now know how to make the mix of vitamins, protein, carbohydrate and minerals. They express hope that their children will be healthier than before.
Akwaya Subdivision villages:
This is the target area for FORUDEF’s nutrition program, as it is located where the symptoms of malnutrition are advanced, particularly amongst children. With the return of the dry season in October and the achievement of full funding of the nutrition program for the Akwaya subdivision, the program will be started in seven villages in this region imminently. FORUDEF staff are travelling to Ote, Bachama, Bandolo, Tava, Akwa, Baiya, and Mukongyong villages throughout October and November to implement phase one. In this phase, women’s groups in each village will be trained on the basic principles of healthy and balanced eating, the effects of malnutrition, and food sources within their community and environment that will arrest malnutrition and create stronger, healthier communities. Phases 2-4 will be implemented through July 2013, as per the Activity Plan for the Akwaya Subdivision, included at the end of this report. Participants in all villages have been introduced to the program, have collectively agreed to participate in training, and have been briefed on the program schedule, content, and expectations. Following the implementation of phase one, a report of this progress will be posted. At this stage, both FORUDEF staff and all program participants are eager to begin the program, and anticipate positive progress.
As a result of the success of the nutrition program’s pilot phase in villages near FORUDEF’s headquarters in Buea, FORUDEF has responded to requests to expand the program into some of Buea’s primary schools. The pilot phase of this has just been completed with significant success. Application of the nutrition program to schools is an adaptation of the program’s phase one. Students are introduced to the principles of a balanced diet and its effects on their health through presentations, games, and interactive activities. This has just been completed, and a comprehensive evaluation is due to be completed in October. However, a preliminary evaluation reveals that the students generally participated with eagerness and were able to demonstrate a good grasp of the information, and some ability to apply it to their own food decisions.
Participants that have completed the nutrition program, as well as those that are current participants, are already applying the principles and techniques of cooking inexpensive yet nutritive food for families. The nutrition practice is a behavioral change process and hence will come to life much more with time. There is evident satisfaction on the part of the women and communities where we have trained so far.
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South West Region,