Training Women in the Agro-Processing Workforce on Nutrition

Training Women in the Agro-Processing Workforce on Nutrition

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Despite their matching green uniforms, Alaa, Hajar and Mariam each have their own specific role at El-Baiaho Agricultural Community Development Association pack house, located in the outskirts of Minya, Egypt. Alaa labels the dewy green grapes with a branded sticker. Hajar takes the grapes from the packaging line and makes sure they are ready for sale. And Mariam weighs the grapes before packaging.
“We wish to work. This job allows us to get our own money for private [education] lessons and we are also able to help our families,” said Hajar.

Alaa, Hajar, and Mariam are just three of the young women hired by El Baiaho to support their post-harvest operations which involves sorting, packaging and storing a variety of crops, including grapes, pomegranate, tomato, and garlic for export. All three women are still attending school during the day, after which they make the journey to work. During their holiday breaks, these women spend even longer hours to increase their income.

In early June, Alaa, Hajar, and Mariam temporarily hung up their green jackets along with their fellow female employees at El Baiaho to participate in a training focused on nutrition for women in the agro-processing workforce. Across Egypt, undernutrition and stunting rates for children remain high, which results in economic costs that hinder the development of the nation.

To address this issue, USAID’s Feed the Future Egypt, Food Security and Agribusiness Support (FAS) project organized a three-day training aimed at building awareness on nutritional requirements for teenage girls and to promote the importance of investing their income in their own and their future children’s health and nutrition. The training was led by Dr. Amal Hassanein Abouelmajed, Agri-Nutrition team leader on the FAS project who has a postgraduate diploma in hospital dietetics and has extensive experience working in food and nutrition on projects across Egypt and has attended trainings internationally.

The hands-on training instilled participants with knowledge on the types of food that are critical for improving health and child development, such as identifying foods rich in iron, vitamins and proteins. The young women also received training in good hygienic practices, such as the importance of hand washing as well as practical methods to prevent food poisoning. “I learned a lot that I did not know before. I learned about how to organize food in the fridge to keep it fresh,” said Hajar.

“I learned about the food pyramid which helped me to know what types of food and how much to eat to stay healthy,” said Alaa.

The training did not stop at the doors of El Baiaho. All three young women spoke of sharing the knowledge and tools they had acquired through the training with their families back home. “The day I got the training, I went home and practiced what I learned with my family. I opened up the fridge and showed them what we should now do,” said Mariam.

This training was just one piece of what the FAS project aims to achieve to improve the nutritional status particularly of women and children. Over the coming two years, the FAS project plans to provide training to 300 community nutrition mobilizers, who in turn will conduct outreach on nutrition to 3,000 households. In addition to expanding nutrition trainings to women in the agro-processing workforce to additional companies, the FAS team is also in the early stages of sending out SMS text messages that focus on key nutrition topics through the digital extension service platform (DESP). Using this method, more women will be exposed to the essential knowledge on the link between nutrition and leading healthy, productive lives.

“This type of training is so good for us because when we grow up and have our own children, we will know better how to keep our family healthy,” said Hajar.

Transforming women and children welfare through care groups

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Although Rwanda has registered strides in improving nutritional intake for women and children, numerous challenges still abound. According to the Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability analysis (2015), about 20% of households nationwide are considered food insecure. In Gatsibo alone, the study found that about 3% of households are severely food insecure.

One Gatsibo resident who has experienced this challenge is Denyse Nyirabakunzi, a resident of Kageyo Sector, Gituza Cell, Kabacuzi Village. It was worrying not being able to properly feed her six children. But something more worrying caught Denyse’s attention.  This was a case of two malnourished children in her neighborhood who appeared sickly and underweight. They did not have enough to eat. Denyse wanted to help but was hampered by limited knowledge of nutrition.

‘’We didn’t know how to prepare diversified diets because of limited knowledge on nutrition, “observed Denyse.

An opportunity arrived when Denyse was recruited by community health workers to join one of the care groups usually made up of 20 to 30 members. Funded by USAID and Feed the Future, Hinga Weze is utilizing care groups disseminate nutrition messages, encourage members to save and improve hygiene. Hinga Weze mainly aims to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income and increase the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food to a changing climate.

Care group members harvest beetroot from a garden belonging to one of the members

Through her group, Denyse and fellow members are able to receive messages on nutrition and to conduct cooking demonstrations. Her group is one of the 1,219 new ones Hinga Weze has established in 10 districts, consisting of more than 34,000 households that are coached by community health workers and farmer promoters. In Gatsibo alone, Hinga Weze set up 2,000 households.

With help from fellow care group members care group, Denyse was able to provide nutritious foods for the two malnourished children, but also taught their families how to diversify and prepare diets and maintain hygiene to fight against germs.  And there is more.  Her care group has been able to save 51,000Rwf part of which is used to acquire nutritious foods for cooking demonstrations.

“I have learned to prepare a balanced and diversified diet and how to preserve vegetables to be used during dry seasons,” Denyse observed as she emphasized the importance of peer learning.

She has set up a kitchen garden near her home to serve as a model for other community members and also to provide vegetables for her own family. Using the demonstration garden, Denyse has so far 53 neighboring households who, in turn, set up their own kitchen gardens. Denyse is preparing for the larger mission of ensuring that her village is food secure and free of malnourished children.

USAID support to farmers in Bugesera promotes nutrition sensitive agriculture

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Didacienne Mukandaruhutse (60) a farmer, widow and mother of five (4 daughters and a son) has faced her fair share of difficulties having lived in a region of the eastern province of Rwanda that faces constant drought. Putting enough food on the table for her family, balanced and diversified, is difficult and ensuring that her children have the required nutrients for healthy growth and strength to support in cultivating her small land is a constant challenge.

Didacienne’s ray of hope came when she was mobilized together with other farmers in Bugesera District, Rukumberi Sector to attend trainings on adopting good agriculture practices to improve nutrition for women and children and adopting practices resilient to harsh climate change.

“Acquiring knowledge by practice about Maternal Infant and Young child nutrition was a life-time eye opener for me and my community as well as my children, we now know that, it is possible to ensure proper nutrition for a smallholder farmer with limited production’’ Didacienne said with a smile.

Whenever she needed nutritious vegetables, she would have to buy from the market not knowing it could easily be done in her compound. “Establishing a home garden was made simple because the community trainers who trained us did it practically with us- so we learnt by doing,’ ’she narrated.

The technical knowledge provided to Didacienne together with other farmers in 10 districts of Rwanda was made possible through the Feed the Future program of Hinga Weze which aims to sustainably improve agricultural productivity, increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve nutritional status of Rwandan women and children. The practical trainings focus on helping farmers acquire skills and implement initiatives that transform their perceptions on nutrition-sensitive activities.

Mothers in Nyabihu district feed their babies after cooking sessions with nutritious food prepared by community health workers

Hinga Weze operates its activities in 10 districts and the nutrition activity has trained farmers in essential nutrition concepts, maternal feeding practices, optimal complementary feeding practices, cooking practices and the establishment of kitchen or home gardens to diversify diet at the household level, including basic budgeting principles to increase consumption of nutrition foods.  Hinga Weze aims to reach a 40% increase in the percentage of children 6-23 months receiving a minimum acceptable diet (MAD), and a 40% increase in the prevalence of women of reproductive age (15-49) consuming targeted nutrient-rich value chain crops.

In the last three months, Hinga Weze has trained 17,912 households on nutrition sensitive agriculture through Farmer Field School (FFS) and Community Farmer promoters (FPs). In addition, 1,484 home gardens were established and Hinga Weze distributed vegetable seeds (carrots, beetroots, red and yellow onions, cabbages, amaranths, spinach) and fruit seeds (watermelon) as part of the support to the household level benefitting 200 farmers who received improved seeds. One of the beneficiaries for this support was Didacienne.

“I look forward to saving money which I used to buy vegetables for my family as well as having the dietary requirements from my home garden which I planted after acquiring knowledge on proper nutrition,” she shared.

Rwanda Families Empowered to Curb Malnutrition and Stunting

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Although Rwanda has recorded improvements, stunting and malnutrition remains a challenge especially among children and women. It is recorded at 38% among children under five and only 18% meet the Minimum Acceptable Diet (MAD). Young mothers are hit hard and Nirere Alphonsine (34 years) has not been spared. Her ordeal dates way back to a severed childhood when Alphonsine did not have enough to feed on causing deficiencies in vital nutrients. Now at 34 years of age, she is a mother of two who were born with mild signs of cognitive impairment due to poor feeding by their mother during pregnancy.

“Whenever I was pregnant, I would feel weak, unable to walk or do my chores. I did not know I was malnourished and this affected my babies,” It is a miracle that my first born is alive because I nearly lost my own life when I was pregnant,” Nirere says with a sigh!

Alphonsine is a resident of Nyabihu District, one of the districts with a high stunting rate of 59% (DHS 2015 Report). Her own sector of Rurembo has recorded many children and pregnant mothers who continue to lack enough nutritious diets. This directly adds to the rate of morbidity and mortality of mothers and infants. The community needed to be mobilized and rescued from poverty.

Nirere tends to her young daughter

A lifeline for Nirere came in 2017 when she was enrolled into a care group. These are some of the activities organised by Hinga Weze, a USAID/Feed the Future funded program that aims to improve the nutritional status of women and children. This is part of its core mission to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of Rwandan women and children, and increase the resilience of agriculture and food systems to the changing climate.

Hinga Weze uses Care Groups model (CGs) and Community-Based Volunteers (CBVs) to reach families and these are then encouraged to form or join clusters. Through these groups members are receive messages on behavioral change and are encouraged to adopt better nutritional practices. Beneficiaries are also coached how to provide care for children from 0-5 years old and adopt non-gendered roles in the households. Together with her husband, Nirere is taking the lead to encourage her cluster group called DUHASHYE BWACYI (Let’s fight against malnutrition and stunting) to grow set up home gardens of nutritious vegetables.

“We now have home gardens with vegetables for our families. Through training, we know how to prepare nutritious meals especially for pregnant women and children,” Nirere says happily. My husband too comes along and we have been taught to budget together,  He has learnt to be involved in our domestic management as well as supporting me in preparing home gardens and family meals. Nirere’s family is among the 34,000 most vulnerable households supported by Hinga Weze to improve food security in 2018.  Through CBV, the households were supported to establish 2,530 home gardens. and 21,510 benefited from integrated approaches, demonstrations and trainings on nutrition and adoption of new low-cost technologies in ten districts of Karongi, Rutsiro, Nyamasheke, Nyabihu, Ngororero, Nyamagabe, Gatsibo, Kayonza, Ngoma and Bugesera. The future is bright for Nirere.

Nirere Alphonsine preparing vegetables together with her husband and child

Sifisimpilwenhle Community Health Club Raises Funds to Improve their Health

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Date: April 2018

Place: Ward 17, Gwanda

In western Zimbabwe, a group of dedicated community members from Gohole Village are working to improve their health with the support of the USAID-funded Amalima program. The members belong to Sifisimpilwenhle Community Health Club (CHC), named from the Ndebele word meaning, “we wish for a better life.” The CHC promotes improved health and hygiene behaviors and has inspired other community members to improve their own nutrition and health.

Five members hold goats which the whole group raises as their income generating activity to raise funds for building hygiene facilities in the members’ homestead

As part of USAID’s efforts to improve nutrition and health, the Amalima program works with communities to establish CHCs, like this one, in Amalima’s four districts of Bulilima, Mangwe, Gwanda and Tsholotsho. Since the program started in 2013, 415 CHCs have been established. Amalima provides a participatory health and hygiene education curriculum to train CHCs on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and on other Participatory Health and Hygiene curriculums. After members graduate, Amalima encourages CHC alumni groups to pursue income generating activities to keep the groups together, maintain momentum for practicing good WASH behaviors, and enable groups to fund the construction and establishment of hygiene enabling facilities, such as “tippy taps” handwashing stations, pot racks, and latrines. The CHCs support behavior changes in their communities around WASH practices. For groups that want to start an income generating activity, Amalima will first provide Village Saving and Lending training on group formation, constitution development, group fund development, loans and loan appraisal, and recordkeeping, so the groups the can build savings to fund their activity. Amalima will then provide a Selection, Planning and Management training on starting an income generating activity and provide ongoing support on the specific activity. Sifisimpilwenhle CHC was formed in 2014, and then members graduated from the Participatory Health and Hygiene curriculum in 2015. After graduating, 11 of the 33 club members formed a village saving and lending group to fund an income generating activity breeding goats. Amalima provides targeted, ongoing support to the group by training them on goat management, including nutrition, breeding, health, housing, and goat marketing. Members started by each donating two goats (for a total of 22 goats) and have since expanded the groups’ herd to over 60 goats. As most of their breeders will be kidding from April to May; they expect to increase their herd to over 100 goats.

Sifisimpilwenhle uses a portion of their Village Saving & Lending funds to support their income generating activities and uses the proceeds to fund hygiene enabling facilities in their homes. Members make regular contributions to their Village Saving and Lending fund to purchase supplementary feed, construct goat pens, and purchased a Boer buck from ICRISAT3 to improve their herd. Using money earned through the sale of their goats, all the members of the group have constructed latrines and set up other hygiene enabling facilities4 in their homes. As the group continues to sell their herd they also hope to use proceeds to support other community members. One group member Mr Hupulang Nyathi echoed that “as a group we are prepared to drill our own borehole if we manage to raise funds; so that we improve our health and hygiene practices. This will be an advantage to us and the surrounding community who don’t have access to adequate and clean water”.

Group member inside one of the goat pens which protects the groups’ herd

Sifisimpilwenhle is has also influenced other members of the community. Success from their goat project has inspired four other groups form their own income generating activities and village saving and lending projects and further support nutrition and health in the area.

 

 

Care Group Training Improves the Confidence of Members to Improve Health of Children

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Date: October 2017

Place: Mangwe District (Kwite Village, Ward 1)

Rebecca Nondo is a 33- year-old mother of three living in the Mangwe district of Zimbabwe, where access to year-round access to food is limited. In the Matabeleland South province, where Mangwe is located, 44 percent of the population experience food insecurity during the peak hunger period of February to March. In addition, 2.8 percent of children under five in Mangwe experience acute malnutrition. The USAID-funded Amalima Program aims to improve the food security of households in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe by providing a monthly ration of  corn-soy blend and fortified vegetable oil to beneficiaries like Rebecca. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children-under-two are eligible to receive the supplementary ration as part of the program’s efforts to reduce stunting and malnutrition during the first 1,000 days of a child’s development.

Amalima also promotes improved maternal and child health, and nutrition through Care Groups – community-level meetings led by a trained volunteer and attended regularly by eight to ten caregivers to discuss issues including infant and young child feeding practices, the importance of antenatal care visits, exclusive breastfeeding infants during the first six months of life, supplementary feeding for children 6-24 months, and types of locally-available, nutrient-rich foods that are part of a healthy diet.

Rebecca decided to join her local Care Group after being approached by a Care Group Volunteer at an Amalima distribution. She was pregnant with her third child, and had never received formal instructions about how to raise a healthy child. She was especially interested in learning about proper feeding practices for her young children of varying ages. This was a particular point of stress for Rebecca; she didn’t feel confident about what type of food was best to provide, or the right portion size of a meal. Sometimes she would wait until her child was crying to know that they were hungry.

From Left to Right: Cousin Dineo Nngowa, Care Group Member Rebecca Nondo, Grandfather Luke Ndlovu, and group leader Gloria Dube

Through participation in Care Group activities, Rebecca learned about meal preparation and feeding schedules for her children. She frequently uses the Amalima recipe book, which was created to help caregivers prepare diverse and nutritious meals for her family. The recipes feature locally available vegetables, which she sources mostly from her home garden. Recipes also specify preparation times, quantities of individual ingredients needed, and how much each recipe will produce.

Rebecca’s participation in the Care Group has impacted the whole family. Rebecca’s father-in-law, Luke Ndolvu, has become an advocate for her participation in the Care Group because he clearly recognizes the improvement in her ability to care for and respond to the needs of her children. While explaining the impact of the Care Group, he explains, “If a child is not well, [she] now knows how to respond.” Gloria Dube, Rebecca’s Care Group leader, makes regular home visits to the household where she works with the other family members as well to encourage the adoption of new, improved health practices that as easily implemented at home. Rebecca’s father-in-law now also feels capable of caring for the children when she is away, and her cousin has applied some of the practices to her own family to raise healthier children.

Integration across program activities brings improved food security

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According to Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s 2018 Rural Livelihoods Assessment, the number of food insecure households in Matabeleland North and South are expected to double in the 2018/2019 season as compared to projections from the 2017 Rural Livelihood Assessment for the 2017/2018 season.[1] This increase in projected food insecurity can be contributed to the changing environmental, political and economic climate in the country which impacts the availability of food, access to food, the safe and healthy utilization of food and stability of food availability, access and utilization. The USAID-funded Amalima program is seeking to address and help stabilize this changing level of food security by providing monthly food rations to mothers and care givers in Matabeleland North and South. While distributing food rations addresses immediate nutritional needs, they are not a sustainable strategy towards the program’s objective of reducing stunting for children under five by improving nutrition, expanding and diversifying agricultural production, increasing household income and reducing risk of disasters by improving resilience. Amalima is targeting ration recipients and encouraging them to participate in all Amalima activities to adopt behaviors that can continue after

Living in Southwestern Zimbabwe, Blessed Mhlanaga is responsible for taking care of her household and  three children, ranging in ages from 11 months to eight years. Each day, Ms. Mhlanga must clean her home, care for her children, purchase or produce food for her household, cook for her family, and gather the water and firewood necessary for household chores. While Ms. Mhlanga works hard to balance her responsibilities, she has experienced challenges in attending to her home while also being attentive to her children. In early 2014, Ms. Malanga attended a ward meeting where she first learned about Amalima, including the fact that pregnant and lactating women and children 2-23 months were eligible to receive a monthly food ration. After delivering her second children, Ms. Mhlanaga signed up to receive rations as a lactating mother.

Amalima is currently working at 87 food distribution points to provide a monthly ration of 5.5 kgs of Corn Soya Blend Plus (CSB+) and 1.38 kgs of fortified vegetable oil per month for pregnant and lactating women; and 3 kgs of CSB+ and 0.92 kgs of oil per month for children 6-23 months. These food baskets supplement the diet of either the mother or child under two years and provide necessary nutrients that are not easily accessible to vulnerable families. During food distributions, Amalima encourage ration recipients to participate in its other activities by inviting recipients to join and providing a taster of lessons promoted in activities by having existing groups provide pre-distribution “edutainment” in the form of dance, songs or drama that center around a key lesson or promoted behavior.

Ms. Mhlanga was invited to join a Community Health Club by a Community-based Volunteer, who trains club members following a Participatory Health and Hygiene Curriculum, and then joined a Care Group to learn about good childcare practices. In her involvement with the Community Health Club, Ms. Mhlanga attended trainings sessions with other recipients on health and sanitation and constructed hygiene-enabling structures in her home, such as a latrine and multiple hand washing stations. To continue supporting health in the household, the Community-based Volunteers Amalima staff encourages members join other Amalima groups, including Care Groups, and farmer groups during the training sessions to continue improving the health and hygiene of their families. While receiving lessons as a Community Health Club member, Ms. Mhlanga joined a Care Group to learn how she could better care for her children, especially her second child who was five months old at the time.  In explaining why she wanted to join another group she said, “being a part of a group means you are learning from each other and are sharing the work instead of doing it alone.”

In her role as a Care Group member, Ms. Mhlanga learned about important infant and young child feeding practices and shared experiences with other care givers. The Care Groups are supported by a Lead Mother who provides monthly lessons following four Care Group modules and conducts home visits with each member to provide one-one-one support and reinforce the lessons. During these lessons, Ms. Mhlanga was taught to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months, not feeding the infant any water or porridge, and breastfeed until the child was satisfied. Ms. Mhlanga learned to take her time when feeding her children, instead rushing to continue with household chores. Through the home visits, the Lead Mother was able to provide suggestions on how to better adopt the promoted behaviors. The home visits also play an important role in reaching other family members, who can influence whether the mother adopts behaviors, by talking to them directly and explaining what was discussed in the group lessons. For Ms. Mhlanga, her husband is unable to attend the home visits, but she has experienced his support by

While attending Care Group trainings with her third child, Ms. Mhlanga also joined a Conservation Agriculture group after receiving the healthy harvest training. Within the Care Group curriculum, Amalima includes training on the importance of creating a nutritious and diverse plate and training on producing food for home consumption. During this training, Lead Mothers stress the value of participating in productive agricultural activities for household consumption and household income to purchase food necessary to prepare nutritious meals. Ms. Mhlanga just joined the conservation agriculture farmer group in the past year, but has already received training on conservation agriculture and begun preparing her fields alongside members in her farming group.

Since joining a CHC, Care Group and Conservation Agriculture group, Ms. Mhlanga has experienced a mental shift from trying balance her household chores and caring for her children to prioritizing her children, especially the infant who needs more attention. From her involvement in the Care Groups, she has since noticed a big difference between her oldest child, who was born four years before she joined Amalima, and her second two children, who were raised while participating in Amalima trainings. The eldest is more slender and would cry nonstop as an infant, while her older two children are more plump and cry less because they are feed more often. From her involvement with the Community Health Club, her children are enthusiastic to follow in her example of improve hygiene, using the tippy tap constructed during her Community Health Club lessons and helping to keep the homestead clean and orderly. From her involvement in the Conservation Agriculture farmer group, Ms. Mhlanga looks forward to her harvest of sorghum, millet, groundnuts and roundnuts, which she will use primarily to her feed her family and will sell the rest.  Ms. Mhlanga plans to continue participating in Amalima groups, even after the program has closed out, since she believes it is important to continue improving her household. Looking back on her involvement with Amalima she explains, “It is not receiving the porridge and oil, but the lessons taught in my Care Group meetings, CHC training and CA trainings which has been the most valuable.”

 

Care group member, Blessed Mhlanga, with her youngest child

[1] Figures from the ZimVAC 2017 Rural Livelihood Assessment projected XX households in Matabeleland North and South to be food insecure in the 2017/2018 agriculture season, while figures in the ZimVAC 2018 Rural Livelihood Assessment projected 415,340 households in Matabeleland North and South to be food insecure in the 2018/2019 agricultural season. Full reports can be found here: https://reliefweb.int/report/zimbabwe/zimbabwe-vulnerability-assessment-committee-zimvac-2017-rural-livelihoods-assessment and https://reliefweb.int/report/zimbabwe/zimbabwe-vulnerability-assessment-committee-results-2018.

Rehabilitated facilities bring improved water and sanitation to Madlambudzi clinic

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The Health Center Committee for Madlambuzi clinic

Zimbabwe boasts a well-connected system of rural health clinics run by the Ministry of Health and Child Care that provide services such as baby deliveries and out-patient treatments. Amalima encourages at least three prenatal visits for pregnant and lactating women; however, some of the clinics lack the necessary facilities to promote good hygiene practices for the patients. Amalima addresses the need for improved sanitation and hygiene facilities by constructing toilets, flush systems, and handwashing stations at clinics across Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South. In the Bulilma district (Ward 11), Amalima worked closely with the community, the Rural District Council, clinic staff, and the Health Center Committee to bring running water and improved sanitation facilities to the Madlambuzi clinic.

This clinic provides medical services, including out-patient treatments and baby delivery procedures, to over 5,000 people per year, an average of 20 patients per day. The clinic is also home to a medical lab which performs malaria and tuberculosis testing for patients and the three surrounding clinics. For a clinic of this size, the government recommends at least 100 liters of water available each day for the day-to-day functions of the clinic. However, in 2012 the clinic’s water system broke down. The clinic was forced to rely on water from an onsite borehole that could only pump 200 liters (about 10 buckets) of water at a time before running dry, making it necessary to wait for two hours before drawing more water. With the clinic’s day-to-day operations constrained, clinic patients had no choice but to fetch their own water from water sources that were unsafe for medical purposes. As described by clinic client Mrs. Dube, “My relatives had to walk for 30 minutes [to a nearby dam] to get a 20-liter bucket of water for my baby’s delivery.”

Moreover, the clinic only had two toilets, which were used by both clinic staff and the general public. With so many people using only two toilets and no water for handwashing, it was difficult for clinic staff to maintain good sanitation practices. When asked about the impact on hygiene and sanitation, clinic nurse Ms. Ndlovu recalls how these conditions, “compromised health standards at the clinic and negatively impacted health outcomes in our community.”

In response to the need for better facilities at the clinic, the Amalima team collaborated with local stakeholders to find a solution. Through Amalima’s Food for Assets activity, community members provided labor for constructing six new latrines and two handwashing stations at the clinic. Workers were compensated with 60 kilograms of sorghum and 4 kilograms of lentils for every 15 days of work. Since the borehole onsite could not provide sufficient water, the clinic made an agreement to source water from a well already in use at a nearby school.  Amalima installed nine solar panels for the borehole pump and installed a10,000-liter tank for water storage. Villages in the surrounding area also served by the clinic each donated a roll of fencing to secure the new facilities.

Four of the six toilets constructed at Madlambuzi clinic, including two disability-friendly latrines

Since March 2017, the clinic has had fully functional toilets, running water, and handwashing stations, and patients are no longer required to provide their own water for procedures. lients are no longer responsible There are six new toilets, including two toilets for clinic staff, and four for the clinic clients. In addition, two of the public latrines feature a wider doorway, a handrail, a toilet seat, and space for a wheelchair to turn around for clients with disabilities.  Stepping stones are placed to lead the user from the latrine to the handwashing station to help remind people to wash their hands.  According to the clinic’s Environmental Health Technician, Mr. Ndebele, the latrines and handwashing stations with running water “have improved our ability to prevent the spread of infection onsite at the clinic”

To support the Health Center Committee in its role to conduct ongoing maintence of the new facilities, Amalima provided training on community based management as well as operations and maintenance of water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure.  Cmeet regularly to verify that the facilities are functioning properly, monitor water user practices, and raise any needed funds to make repairs to the facilities.

In addition to the facilities at Madlambuzi clinic, Amalima has rehabilitated WASH facilities at 27 clinics across Matabeleland North and South provinces with a total of 154 toilets, 17 flush systems, and 52 handwashing stations since 2014.

Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity

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Overview:

The Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity is a five-year USAID-funded project (2017-2022) that aims to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of women and children, and increase the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food systems to a changing climate. By 2022, the project will have benefited over 700,000 smallholder farmers in ten target districts: Bugesera, Gatsibo, Kayonza, and Ngoma (Eastern Province); Karongi, Ngororero, Nyabihu, Nyamasheke, and Rutsiro (Western Province); and Nyamagabe (Southern Province) and across five value chains: high-iron beans, orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP), Irish potato, maize, and horticulture.

Program Approach:

  1. Increasing Sustainable Agricultural Productivity: Hinga Weze focuses on interventions that support an integrated systems approach to agriculture productivity and that follow the principles of sustainable land and water use, with particular attention to climate-smart technologies of relevance to Rwanda, facilitating the resilience of farming systems by improving water management, preventing soil erosion, and maximizing the effectiveness of input use;
  2. Expanding Farmers’ Access to Markets: In order to enhance farmers’ competitiveness and expand access to markets, Hinga Weze is increasing access to post-harvest equipment and facilities, market information, and credit and financial services;
  3. Improving Nutritional Outcome of Agriculture Interventions: Hinga Weze is focused on strengthening the link between agriculture and nutrition to improve the nutritional status of its communities and families.

Partners:

  1. Plan International
  2. Souktel
  3. Rwanda Development Organisation
  4. Imbaraga Farmer’s Federation