One of the five pillars of Nurture Africa's "Holistic Family Centred Model" is to support families to access sustainable and nutritious food, by growing their own.
Nuwagaba Moses of Nurture Africa is conducting a training for a group of twenty two parents and guardians at Nurture Africa's demonstration vegetable garden in Nansana, Uganda. He explains the reasons behind the need for this project.
"When we hear or read of families in Uganda requiring nutritional support, maybe the immediate assumption is that they are totally malnourished and require immediate intervention. For some of the families on this project, that is indeed the case. Parents present with their child or children to the health centre here and after examination we can in fact determine that the child is undernourished. Some require immediate emergency intervention due to their condition. However, there are others in attendance within these groups who require the support for different reasons".
Moses momentarily breaks off from our conversation to explain the nutritional composition of some of the vegetables grown in this demonstration plot to the mostly female group attending this training. He explains further the health benefits associated with each vegetable.
Nuwagaba Moses conducting a training on vegetable growing at a demonstration plot located beside the Nurture Africa Health Centre.
"Good nutrition is also vital for anyone living with HIV. Medical care and treatment is of course essential. Good nutrition supports overall health. It also helps to maintain the immune system, a healthy weight and absorb HIV medicines. Care, treatment and nutrition are all vital components for anyone living with HIV. We work to ensure that our HIV infected clients are aware of this.
Pregnant mothers are also educated on the the vegetables which will support them during pregnancy. Kale and spinach, for example, assist in increasing iron intake. We advise of what food should be eaten and also what foods should be avoided.
We also include parents and guardians of children living with disabilities on this project. They face daily challenges caring for their child. At Nurture Africa we provide them with both physiotherapy and occupational therapy services and provide them with the knowledge and means to produce their own food at home".
We asked Moses what the desired outcome of the project is and if this demonstration plot at Nurture Africa's Health Centre is where all these trainings take place...
"The desired outcome is to improve the nutrition and health status of female headed households (primarily) and youth in both Wakiso and Mubende Districts. We have established seven demonstration vegetable gardens within communities and partner schools of Nurture Africa. These schools are attended by thousands of children and this enables us to bring parents of school children together to learn how to grow their own vegetables. If a child of school going age is eating two meals a day at home, it means she or he is more likely to attend school and is also able to concentrate on learning in class instead of attending lessons whilst hungry."
And after the training is completed.....What are the next steps?
"We provide seedlings to everyone who has attended these workshops. Some live in urban settings so we show them how to grow their vegetables in sacks and pots on the veranda. For those living with a garden or some land, they can plant and sow in the ground. We also do follow up visits in order to ensure that they are tending to their vegetable gardens correctly and the expected yield is being produced. There is always a great sense of excitement, most especially from the children, when the first shoots start to appear above the soil!"
Gladys Namukisa and her daughter are supported by this project and sowed their seedlings in June 2021
As Moses ends this training session we ask him how many families Nurture Africa is targeting to positively impact with this project...
"Our target? To ensure 2,000 families are providing their own nutritious food on a daily basis after four months. To date, 1,114 families have established and are maintaining their own vegetable gardens and are providing for their needs. We have made some good progress up to now but more work needs to be done!"
If you would like to support this project with a €5 per month donation, you can do so by clicking the following link: https://mysplink.com/nurtureafrica/nutrition