Residents from Mwogo in Bugesera district are among witnesses with stories of transformations considering how kitchen village has improved their children’s livelihoods following cooking demonstrations during which they are acquainted with best practices that drove down malnutrition and eliminated stunting are among children.
These parents have been assisted by community health workers trained by the Ministry of Health through Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC).
Angelique Ahishakiye, a resident of Rukira village, Rugunga cell in Mwogo sector has said that her child had stunting issues and weighed 2 kilograms at the age of two.
Since she joined the village kitchen, her child’s health conditions has significantly improved that he is leading normal life.
“I used to poorly feed my child before coming here. I would mix sweet potatoes and beans thinking they are useful for my child’s growth. When community health workers visited me, my child had already developed malnutrition problems. I was not even aware that there are vegetables rich in nutrients that improve child’s growth,” she said.
“At the kitchen village, we are equipped with best cooking techniques. Before joining the village, I was careless that I couldn’t even wake up to prepare porridge for my child before going to work. I would feed him with cold sweet potatoes cooked last night. The situation has changed today. I prepare porridge in the morning and carry takeaways to feed my child with hot meal in the garden. The child’s conditions have significantly improved that he weighs eight kilograms,” added Ahishakiye.
Josephine Mukandayisenga residing in Gisaso village, Gitaba cell has also revealed that her child was underweight with 5 kilograms when she was aged one year and half.
“My child’s health conditions were deteriorating due to poverty and lack of skills to prepare balanced diet. I have learnt that it does not take huge amounts of money to balance diet. With Rwf 500, I can properly feed my child. I have learnt a lot from cooking demonstrations within the past few days since I joined the kitchen village. As a result, my child has significantly improved, increased weight that I will do whatever it takes to keep the pace,” noted Mukandayisenga.
Drocella Mukarwego, a community health worker in Misatsi village of Gataba cell has said that 68 children in Mwogo sector had malnutrition problems before the program started last year but mothers have been helped that the number reduced to 10.
“We have instruments helping us to detect if children have malnutrition issues or are underweight. It facilitates us to identify children in need of special attention. We bring parents at the village kitchen where they learn from demonstrations to prepare balanced diet. I also tell them nutrients contained in foods we are preparing so that they emulate practices at home being fully aware of what they are doing,” she explained.
The Acting Executive Secretary of Mwogo sector, Jean Muhoza has emphasized that kitchen village and early childhood development centers play key role in fighting malnutrition in the sector.
He also stressed that the sector closely follows up children to identify root causes of malnutrition or stunting to seek a durable solution.
Rwanda is among countries that have ambitious target to reduce malnutrition among children from 33% to 19% by 2024. The goal is expected to be achieved through continuously teaching parents to prepare balanced diet and take good care of their children.