Akosua with Lapope.
It is often sad to see malnourished women and their children in our rural communities. The question that comes to mind is: why are these communities that produce food for people in the urban areas malnourished? Could this be attributed to inadequate knowledge about food preparation methods or food distribution in the households?
This is the situation in the village of Beposo, Ghana and Akosua, a 20-year-old mother of one, told Self-Help staff in Ghana how she’s starting to address this issue. Akosua joined the Growing Healthy Food, Growing Healthy Children (GHFGHC) program last year.
“I got pregnant again when Lapope, my daughter, was 12 months old, and this compelled me to stop breastfeeding her. I realized my daughter was losing weight, but I didn’t know what to do because accessing food had always been a challenge for my family,” Akosua said. “‘Diversified meal’ was not in our dictionary - the only food in our diet was akple, a dish made from corn flour and grinded pepper, and sometimes ayoyo, a green leafy vegetable soup. Any leftover akple would be mashed with sugar for breakfast and sometimes lunch.”
“My family depended on this for survival for many years until, one day, a friend told me about Self-Help International and its program,” Akosua said. “Although I registered with the program as an expectant mother, I attended meetings with my 19-month-old daughter. The moment the nutrition officer saw my girl, he noticed she was malnourished and registered her into the program as well.
“My girl and I were supplied with a food supplement called Tom Brown, which is a mixture of Quality Protein Maize (QPM), ground nuts, and water. Upon further nutritional analysis of my girl and me, we were given eggs to help improve both our macro and micro nutrient status”.
Lapope was further supplied with Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) by Self-Help to help her catch up with her growth, after she had been confirmed by a medical officer that she had no medical condition.
Akosua told Self-Help, “With these food supplements, my girl is now growing well and I can confidently say my unborn child will be born healthy. I cannot say my household is completely food secure, but one thing I know is: the headache of not knowing what to eat for breakfast is now a thing of the past. Many women from Beposo have benefited from this program - my family and I have been saved by this program”.
More importantly, Akosua and 69 other women from Beposo and surrounding areas have received the knowledge and skills to grow QPM, a vital component in the Tom Brown supplement. With the onset of rains in March 2019, they are going to receive fertilizers, seeds, and herbicides to grow their own QPM and other nutritious crops such as orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) to feed their family and ensure a healthy community full of strong and energetic children to help realize the dreams of Ghana.
Akosua, Lapope, and Jesse during training.
Akosua receiving supplements from Jesse.