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Caritas Rwanda: Improving nutrition is Improving lives

La Caritas « Un pilier de leur survie »

Through Voice for Change (V4CP), Caritas Rwanda in partnership with SNV, a Netherland Organization, since 2017 advocates for vulnerable families to increase access to nutritious and diverse foods to eliminate malnutrition.

In Rutsiro District, officials and partners have joined Caritas Rwanda voice to helping families with malnutrition problems, improving their lives by teaching them how to prepare healthy meals and also how to save money from small savings in other to be able to take care of their lives.

Amina Drocelle, a resident of Nyamahuru Village in Sure Cell, Mushubati Sector in Rutsiro District, says that in 2015 she could only eat by cultivating for others, which was never enough for her family.

Amina's family ate once a day due to lack of enough food, lack of time to prepare it, and lack of knowledge of how to prepare a balanced diet, all of which were the causes of malnutrition at her home. Amina and her neighborhood colleagues said that the problem of malnutrition seemed to be common to the people of Mushubati and surrounding areas, fortunately Caritas Rwanda came in. We have learnt how to increase agricultural production of nutritious food and how to improve the consumption, saving and lending money for improving family livelihoods as well.

Parents integrated the consumption of nutritious and diverse food
Parents integrated the consumption of nutritious and diverse food

“We started at two hundred Rwandan francs (200 Rwf) a week and now we have reached five hundred Rwandan francs (500 Rwf) a week. We have been trained in how to make a kitchen garden and cook a balanced diet so that no parent has malnourished children today." Amina says

Members of the Amina group say they have secured more than 2,420,000 Rwandan francs in 2019, and shared out it during the year-end holidays for family income generating projects and basic needs.

The "Voice for Change" project (V4CP) is implemented by various/other five sister Organizations, including Caritas Rwanda advocating for access to bio fortified products and appropriate national budget allocation to improve nutrition for poor families. “Early Childhood Development" (ECD) remains the key channel across the country to improve nutrition, health and education of children under 5 years and helps parents now to get time to go to work.

Voce for Change Coordinator at Caritas Rwanda, Jyambere Laurien says the Project came to advocate for the poor families to get enough nutritious food, to improve consumption and fight malnutrition.

"What is important to us is that the community is being supported to get orange flesh sweet potatoes rich in vitamin A, bio fortified iron beans seeds and vegetables, increase the production and consumption," Jyambere said.

Rutsiro District Early Childhood Development’s Officer, Abdul Madjid Bapfakurera says that of the 25 partners who help them fight malnutrition, Caritas-Rwanda plays a key role.

"They help us to mobilize partners, to train parents and set up groups to learn how to prepare a balanced diet, as well as to meet basic needs such as seeds and livestock," Bapfakurera said.

"Caritas has helped us build 58,789 kitchen gardens in 85,332 households in the whole of Rutsiro District, and has also helped us raise funds for our quarterly consultations with partners on combating malnutrition."

"Today I'm not going to tell you how much of over 45% of children at risk of malnutrition are declining, but it's clear that the effort they put in, the report we see day by day gives us hope." Bapfakurera adds

Supported families produce vegetables through kitchen gardens
Supported families produce vegetables through kitchen gardens

Caritas Rwanda says the American International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) provides technical support in data management to ensuring nutrition improvement in areas of V4CP implementation: Ruhango, Nyaruguru, Nyamasheke, Rutsiro, Gicumbi and Ngoma districts.

Caritas Rwanda keeps on the advocacy in 2020, with key decision makers at all levels for the improvement of production and consumption of nutritious and diverse food in to vulnerable families.

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