Sep 24, 2018

Enhancing food security to fight malnutrition

Makena (holding the baby) with our nutritionist
Makena (holding the baby) with our nutritionist

Introduction

Poverty and poor nutritional intake are significant causes of the high levels of poor infant and child physical growth and development. Poor nutrition can result in delayed cognitive development, long-term damaging effects on infants’ and children’s intellectual and psychological development, impaired immune functions and severe infection. As under-nutrition is a major contributor to the chances that an infant and child will succumb to a life threatening disease, it is estimated that poor nutrition accounts for about 40 per cent of under-five mortality. Chronic malnutrition remains prevalent across the urban slums as many vulnerable families cannot afford nutritious foods or don’t have the relevant information or education to make smart dietary choices.

Food security and nutritional diversity is one of the key areas that we have adopted in fighting malnutrition. With varying local opportunities and challenges, the kitchen garden forms part of the solution that is helping Macheo address food insecurity and bring in self reliance, sovereignty and dignity. Households have labour power– the physical ability of household members to generate income and when this labour power is used in the Kitchen garden it has the ability to improve food security and nutritional diversity of the household. Even with the dwindling land resource small areas around the house as small as ten square meters can make the difference in the lives of many.

Part of our intervention in the malnourished children is to alleviate deficiencies which recurrent food aid will never solve.  That’s where kitchen or family gardens get in the picture, not to produce more rather grow vitamin-rich nutritious vegetables and fruits, which are generally quite expensive on the local market. Low-tech kitchen gardens, simple and cheap like the successful, very efficient sack gardens do provide the useful supplementary nutrition to vulnerable families and their malnourished children.

As part of sustainability and ensuring that the children who are malnourished in the program have a secure supply of vegetables and fruits, we are providing trainings and establishment of kitchen gardens to their parents.

Success story

Makena is one of the beneficiaries who has benefited from the initiative of kitchen garden. We have provided inputs to set up kitchen garden in a space her landlord has given her. She was given vegetables seed, seedlings like spinach and kales. After getting the training on simple care, disease and pest control using the locally available materials and the inputs for the kitchen gardening she started growing her vegetables and now she is providing her family with safe secure food grown by her.

*Name changed for protection 

Jun 28, 2018

One Child's Journey

Kinoti at intake to the Macheo Malnourished
Kinoti at intake to the Macheo Malnourished

Dear Friends,

It is always amazing to me to see what the impact of a small gift of love and compassion can do for the life of a child! Knoti was one such child in the Kiandutu slums, that entered our  Macheo Malnourished Children's Program to receive daily food and care. Read Seth's report from Macheo Kenya and realize how your donation was used in the life of this particular child.

Thank you for your continued support, so that we can keep saving children like Knoti.

Regards

Anne Thompson

 

From the Field......

Beyond the age of 6 months, breast milk alone is insufficient to meet the child’s nutritional needs, hence complementary foods must be provided in addition to breast milk. During this time many children start to suffer due to malnutrition. Lack of clean water and proper nutrition weakens their immune systems and invite infectious diseases, leading to health problems that can last a lifetime and into the next generation.

Through our intervention for assisting malnourished children, we promote timely introduction of appropriate and adequate complementary foods in order to ensure the child has adequate nutrition and health. While the children are recovering on their health, our nutritionist teaches the mothers safe nutritional practices and proper food preparation. This not only ensures that the children stay healthy once they leave but also the entire family's nutrition benefits from the caregiver's training.

“Meet Kinoti, one of the 34 children identified with acute malnourishment during the field visits in Kiandutu by the Macheo area social worker. He looked frail and bony at that time. He was easily irritated and didn’t want to be disturbed. When Kinoti was taken into the intervention of assisting malnourished children at our outreach centre in Kiandutu, he was put on supplementary feeding program for 3 months. He was fed on nutritious food consisting of a well balanced diet. He was also dewormed and treated for a flu he was suffering from. His parents were very much concerned for his wellness and they were eager to commit to the therapeutic program, especially his father. Kinoti's caregiver, who also underwent a series of seminars, including preparing a balanced food with locally available foods, hygiene and care practice sessions. Because of his parent's dedication to his son's treatment, Kinoti showed gradual improvement week after week. his weight increased from 5.4 kg upon admission to 7.4 kg and his mid-upper arm circumference increased from 9.5 cm to 13.5 cm. After staying in the outreach program for three months, Kinoti will be exited from the centre and continuous follow ups at home will be made to ensure he is completely recovered.

Kinoti is now a happy and active kid, benefiting from good health and nourishment. Despite poor and unfavorable conditions in Kiandutu, Kinoti is now enjoying a life above the level of malnutrition because of his parents' love and improved child care knowledge and practices "

Parent seminars
Parent seminars
Kinoti after 3 months
Kinoti after 3 months
Jun 25, 2018

Improving the lives of seven children with one family empowerment!

Mutheu at her new grocery stall
Mutheu at her new grocery stall

We want to thank all our donors for their amazing support for the Macheo Empowerment Program. Giving a person the tools to help themselves, is always a more sustainable model of aid, than feeding them for a day. Your funding this quarter has helped a few families  become self sufficient, feed their children and provide school supplies for children to attend school. 

With many thanks for your kind consideration.

Anne Thompson

 

From the field.....by Seth Mwangi

Mutheu is twenty eight years old and provides care to seven children (four of her own & three of her late brother's). Her life began to improve when she started a small business with the support of Macheo through their household economic strengthening intervention. Before her involvement with Macheo, Mutheu had no stable income and relied on casual labour. The jobs were hardly coming in and she was in constant debt to several lenders. Her children would miss school and sometimes go hungry for a day. She was identified by our social worker, when the teacher of the school that Mutheu’s children go to, noticed their absense.  It was reported that the child had not gone to school for days. A home follow up was made and it was established that the household was very needy. One child was referred to our health program for treatment and all the other children were placed in our feeding intervention program at school. Mutheu took advantage of Macheo’s supportive economic improvement seminars and quickly absorbed basic principles of small business practices, as well as skills to improve her family’s food security, nutrition, and hygiene. She was also given information on the importance of legal documents for her children; birth certificate and coverage from the National Hospital Insurance Fund. After months of constant assessment by our economic strengthening officer, Macheo provided Mutheu with a start-up capital and she started a green grocer,      “I can’t believe myself today; I really came from far". There are times when I would eat one meal a day and my children could not go to good school because of missing basic school items, but now I feel that I can support my family and feel more confident about our future.” A natural entrepreneur, Mutheu took full advantage of Macheo’s support for small business development and is now running her business based in her community, that have substantially improved her income and capacity to support her family’s basic needs. She was recently taught on how to grow vegetables on a sack so that he can supplement what she buys from the market. “As a result of Macheo’s support, I have real confidence about the future for my family,” says Mutheu. “I also see that other caregivers look up to me now and see that it is possible to improve family income. This benefits all of our children.” says Mutheu. Through our HES intervention, Macheo helps families like Mutheu’s improve their financial status through income generating activities by building practical skills, entrepreneurship, record keeping, financial skills, building linkages to local markets and helping them measure and monitor the progress of their businesses.

 
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