The children of Katete District in Zambia have very high rates of malnutrition. Our previous project tested a nutritional supplement, ONENEPA, with a group of children and found that it promoted growth and added weight while maintaining appetite. But nutrition is a family matter, so we want to work with whole families to find out whether they will actually achieve a balanced diet by growing the necessary vegetables in their gardens. The families health data will be recorded four times a year.
In Katete district it is common for three meals a day to consist mostly of maize. Maize provides energy from carbohydrates, but contains very little of the protein, vitamins or minerals needed by growing bodies. Tiko has been educating people to grow a balanced diet and many of our volunteers are planting more vegetables than ever. They are realising that including Moringa powder and leaves, plus peanuts and other legumes, provides much necessary protein.
As an alternative to maize Tiko will help the participants to plant other drought resistant crops from which to make nsima, thus preventing malnutrition arising from the lack of food. In addition to encouraging families to change their diet, where appropriate, Tiko will provide ONENEPA, a supplement which works wonders with malnourished children. Special attention will be paid to ensuring that the families grow moringa (a highly nutritious plant food), ground nuts and local seasonal vegetables.
Childhood malnutrition has a negative effect throughout life resulting in shorter stature, developmental delays, impaired immunity and impaired cognitive function. By providing a supplement where needed and other assistance for extra meals, and maintaining a consistent message about nutrition and diet for the whole family, Tiko aims to reduce the incidence of malnutrition and give the children of Katete district the opportunity to thrive.