| Sep 24, 2018
Enhancing food security to fight malnutrition
Makena (holding the baby) with our nutritionist
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.
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