Recently AEE Rwanda, World Relief and UNICEF did an intensive campaign in the capital city of Rwanda, Kigali to fight malnourishment in children under five years old. By providing both education and a free cooking demonstrations large numbers of mothers where provided with a free healthy meal to show them that it is possible to eat nutritious meals on their incomes
After realizing that many parents were not aware of how to prepare a healthy diet for their children, the child health workers have been undertaking cooking demonstrations to teach parents how to prepare a balanced meal for their children, focusing on the 6 month to five-year age group (those under 6 months are encouraged to be totally breast feed. “We teach them to prepare a holistic meal comprised of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats” says Noella Uwamariya who is the supervisor for community health workers in Remera sector one of the areas targeted in the campaign.
Noella is grateful to AEE Rwanda, World Relief and UNICEF for the donations of kitchen equipment that villages are using in these demonstrations and then remain in the village for others to use. She is also optimistic that although the problem of malnutrition persists in her community and that some children are severely malnourished, they will be able to eradicate malnutrition with continued education. “It’s very surprising since we were not expecting such results (severe malnourishment) in Kigali City. This is the reason we have put in the effort once again of coming to teach women how and what to feed their children, making sure it is affordable as well as we take into account each person’ economic standing.” She said
Cooking demonstrations do not end with a single event, community health workers ensure that each village has a day for a cooking demonstration at least once a month because teaching to change lives should be an ongoing effort. Noella pledged to keep taking care of the community’s children and make sure that those who were malnourished will be followed up until their weights and health become normal.