A home in a village with latrine (l) and silos (r)
Crowdfunding Project: Stopping Malnutrition in Children Under Five in Zambia Report to Donors
Thanks to your donations we were able to start our project. For example, when after some delay the money reached our bank 80 km away, we were able to buy bicycles to get from Tikondane Community Centre to the villages and buy scales so that we could record the weights of the children. In the first two weeks we cycled to the first ten villages to distribute Onenepa. The third week we evaluated the data we had gathered.
The clinics issue record cards for the first 60 months for the under-fives, but many are inaccurate since many of the mothers are uneducated, birthdays and dates are not important in Chewa culture and the cards are sometimes inaccurately filled in by the staff of the clinics. We therefore had to determine which children were underweight and in need of food supplements. We included children whose weight was not dramatically under the average for their age, but was going down.
We also had to consider how the mothers could give the supplement to their children and what equipment they would need. We then decided what to teach about a balanced diet and the importance of healthy and regular nutrition.
In the villages most families lack the basic amenities and equipment that we take for granted, so we decided to give to every mother a spoon and a fork in order that they would be able to mix the supplement with water or add it to some mashed fruit, vegetables or porridge. To mix the powder with water they would need a plate or a bowl but as new kitchen tools would probably be shared with the whole family we started to produce our own small tins, using old soft drink cans. During this time enough Onenepa for distribution to 100 children for the first two weeks was produced at Tikondane. The supplement includes pounded soya beans, pounded maize, Moringa powder, milk powder, dark sugar and chocolate powder, thus the three food groups, plus abundant vitamins and minerals. This should also stimulate the appetites of the children.
When all preparations for visits to the villages had been made we informed the headmen about the days we would come. Each time our two teams made an early start to ride to two different villages. During the first week, even though a funeral interrupted our plans, we were able to visit ten villages. We returned to the same villages with the second supply for the week after. On arriving at our destination, we always had to wait for some time until everyone appeared at the meeting point. We could then introduce ourselves and the programme and teach the mothers how to give Onenepa to their children as well as the need for a balanced diet. As people here are not that used to adding vegetables to their meals we presented Moringa and explained different ways in which to use this plant which is richer in minerals and vitamins than any other vegetable. To stress the importance of enough vegetables being included in our feeding plan we also gave a moringa seedling to each mother.
We then weighed each child and interviewed the mothers and children to get information about the family and the health of their children and observed the behaviour of the child and its interaction with its mother.
At the end of the interview we distributed the first package of Onenepa, plus spoon, fork and tin to each mother.
For our second visit we prepared a different questionnaire and included a protocol about the food that the child had received the day before and the morning of our visit.
Of course, not all the mothers who were supposed to come showed up, while others who had heard about our project and wanted to take part, arrived. So we had to decide if each child was really underweight and if there were enough supplies to include it. We now plan to distribute Onenepa to all the children we treated during the first two weeks for a third time and to see the next group of children for the first time.
We really look forward to continuing the project and hope soon to see first changes in the weights of the children and the minds of the mothers.
Thanks again for your support - without your donation ‘Stopping Malnutrition in Katete District’ would not be possible!
Tikodane Community Centre, Katete, Zambia
Our team ready for action!
Gracious, her mother and moringa plant
explaining to the mothers how to prepare onenega
Ezara carefully weighing a child
Mathilda with her mother - first visit
Mathilda with her mother - second visit
Gibson with his mother - first visit
Gibson with his mother - second visit