The Diallo family's path to resilience

Daily life has transformed for the better for the Diallo family, thanks to the partnership of WFP and UNICEF. This BMZ supported project has empowered the family to improve its nutrition in a sustainable way.

Julie Crenn
Diallo's family in Soufouroulaye
UNICEF Mali/2021/Keita
05 November 2021

Soufouroulaye, Mopti Region - "Mariam was always sick and not gaining weight," Ada recalls of her one-year-old daughter. Sitting in their home in the village of Soufouroulaye, in central Mali, the 34-year-old mother of three knew immediately what to do. "If you have any doubts about your child's health, you can measure her arm with the “brachial perimeter”," she explains gently. "If it's red, you have to go to the health worker," she concludes.

"Training mothers to detect the nutritional status of their children allows early detection and for children to arrive at the health centre in time to be quickly taken care of," explains Seydou Dicko, UNICEF nutrition specialist in Mopti. In 2020, as part of the BMZ 'Building Resilience in the Sahel' project, 255,525 women in the regions of Mopti, Gao, Timbuktu and Koulikouro were trained in early detection of malnutrition of their children by using MUAC Tape (Mid-upper Arm Circumference).

Little Mariam is taken care of at Soufouroulaye health center
UNICEF Mali/2021/Keita

“The health workers showed us how to measure the “brachial perimeter”.”

Ada, Mariam's mother

"Fortunately, in the current context, UNICEF is here to help us," says Sidi Doumbia, technical director of the Soufouroulaye community health centre. "We have all the necessary material to properly treat all the severely malnourished children we receive here.”

“Mariam received a paste in a red packed called "tiguedegueni"," Ada confirms, referring to the “Plumpy Nut”. The little girl was suffering from severe acute malnutrition: "The health centre workers showed us how to measure the arm and we were given a lot of information on good nutrition practices," explains the mother. "I learned that in the first six months we should only breastfee, and then, only after six months can we give the child a food like porridge."

In 2020, UNICEF Mali's support to the Government has resulted in the care of more than 145,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition like Mariam, and approximately three million children have been screened by mothers, community relays and Nutrition Support Groups.

*'Small peanut paste' in Bambara

Diadie Diallo au jardin maraicher
UNICEF Mali/2021/Keita

"The combined actions of WFP and UNICEF are enabling these communities to have better agricultural production and therefore better livelihoods," confirms Marieme Diaw, WFP Nutrition Officer. "WFP and UNICEF have developed a set of synergies to strengthen nutrition in Soufouroulaye and to create the conditions for empowerment of these communities.”

"All these actions are reducing malnutrition in the area," confirms Sidi Doumbia as he prepares to take care of another child at the Soufouroulaye health centre.