Innovative ways to combat Malnutrition continues in Rwanda
by Jung Yuen Park
Gasabo District, 12 December 2013 - Valentine, 26 and mother of 3-year-old girl Clemence, smiles at her rabbits. “Last September I received a pair of rabbits. I feel stronger feeding them and watching them grow.” I know that the rabbits can give me manure for my garden and can help me generate income.
Thirty households with malnourished under 5 children in Valentine’s community received rabbits as part of the multi-sectoral approach in implementing District Plan for Elimination of Malnutrition (DPEM). DPEM is a Government’s multi-sectoral initiative to fight malnutrition which is developed and owned by districts.
During 2013, UNICEF with generous contribution from USAID provided financial and technical assistance to the Ministry of Health at central level and selected districts (Rubavu, Gakenke, Gasabo, Burera and Ngororero) to scale up multi-sectoral community-based nutrition interventions aimed at contributing to preventing and the reducing malnutrition.
“We are happy we can help children who are really in need” said Anonciata, in charge of nutrition at the Kagugu Health Centre. “We hope rabbits bring longer-term benefits. They see them as an income generating venture that can complement families to sell and buy whatever food they cannot produce or money to save for future use while at the same time acting as a source of proteins”, she added.
Christine, Nutritionist at the Kibagabaga District Hospital said “Before we had a plan but we didn’t have the funds to implement it. Now with support from UNICEF and USAID, we can support 565 households in our district who have malnourished children under age 5 in their families, which is almost 60% of households who are in need”. This funding facilitates the various sectors to implement their programs within the DPEM framework.
UNICEF supports Rwanda’s multi-sectoral approach to tackle malnutrition, particularly high levels of stunting. The strategy to support districts financially empowers them to develop their own ways of tackling malnutrition at decentralized levels. Provision of small livestock is viewed by many veterinarians as a practical way of giving hope for a positive future and empowering mothers.
Indeed – an innovative way and should go a long way in the elimination of malnutrition in Rwanda.