Ebola-affected communities battle malnutrition

By supporting income-generating activities, UNICEF is helping to prevent malnutrition in Ebola-affected areas in the long term.

Hadja Nantenin Dioumessy (translated from French by Holly-Anne Whyte)
Une mère qui cultive avec son bébé au dos
UNICEF DRC Bashizi
11 May 2021

Against the backdrop of the violence that has raged for many years, the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) became the epicentre of an Ebola outbreak that lasted almost two years and killed about 2,300 people before it came to an end in June 2020. Communities ravaged by the disease and its aftermath have lost much of their livelihoods, jeopardizing the survival and development of their children.

To help affected families provide their children with the nutrition they require, UNICEF has set up a community-based nutrition project focused on infant and young child feeding with support from the Government of Canada, USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and the United Kingdom's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Deux femmes assises devant une cabane tenant des lapins
UNICEF DRC Bashizi

Florence Kahambu, farmer and mother to seven children, is one of the programme's many participants. "We learned about animal husbandry and I received five rabbits and some seeds that I grow for subsistence," says Florence Kahambu, mother to seven children. Starting with nothing, Florence now has about 20 rabbits that allow her to support her family. She has refined her amaranth yield and is currently harvesting aubergines.

"Through this work, I can feed my children and buy their school supplies," she says proudly.

Like Florence’s, many families in the Kalunguta health area have started new income-generating activities. "It's a relief because the children in our village were suffering and dying from malnutrition," says Florence, who has been trained on good infant and young child feeding practices.