Empower mothers to improve the dietary diversity of children
A pilot project in Tanganyika province provides access to nutritious food for families affected by severe acute malnutrition.
In the Tanganyika province, as is the case elsewhere in the country, it is mothers who bring their children to the health centre when they are sick, and who take care of the children during their recovery. When Lita, 4 years old, was diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition in a health centre supported by Manono in UNICEF, her mother learned about how to provide an appropriate diet.
In addition to receiving ready-to-use specially-formulated foods, Lita’s mother learned about good dietary practices and attended cooking classes. Marthe also received a phone and a SIM card that allows her to receive 140,000 Congolese francs a month, which enables her to apply precious advice received at the health centre, and to respond to the key needs of her family.
The mother established a restaurant and also sells drinks on a fishers’ island, as well as at the port in Manono. “The profits are enough for me to reinvest in and feed my children”, explains Martha who is today able to give more than one meal a day to Lita. The number of meals has increased but also the nutritional quality and diversity. The family eats more fish with rice, fufu made with cassava and corn, and vegetables.
Through cash assistance for six months, UNICEF gives mothers with children afflicted by severe acute malnutrition to provide them with a balanced diet and thus avoid relapse. It is thanks to this assistance that Pauline was able to bring her son, Prezo, on track to recovery. When Pauline received her first transfer of 140,000 Congolese francs, she decided to restart her bread oven, which had not been used for a long time.
With over 1,000 breads sold a month and a small palm oil business, Pauline is able to obtain a monthly profit of more than 100,000 Congolese francs. This revenue allows her to diversify the diet of Prezo, who had previously eaten only one meal a day only consisting of cassava. Today, the boy eats multiple times a day and regularly receives meat, fish, eggs, and caterpillars.
Responsible for the family’s diet, mothers play a crucial role in the health and nutrition of children. With the support of the German Agency for International Cooperation, UNICEF helps to empower mothers to develop revenue-generating activities, and to increase the dietary diversity for the entire family.
The “Cash for Nutrition” programme supports families whose children suffer from severe acute malnutrition. The programme allows families to have access to proper nutrition, thus avoid relapse after treatment. Since October 2021, more than 1,400 families have received mobile money transfers, enabling them to improve the dietary diversity of children.