A healthy diet

Preventing malnutrition among children in South Sudan

By UNICEF
Fresh food is shown at a mother to mother support group in Aweil, South Sudan.
UNICEF/UN0345184/Wilson

15 October 2019

 
Onions, tomatoes, okra, lime, beef and local greens. Everything you would need for a healthy meal and everything is available in Aweil where malnutrition among children is high.

One common misconception about malnutrition is that it is only caused by the lack of food. However, poor food quality is a major contributor to malnutrition among children.

 

A woman at a mother to mother support group gives dietary advice during a cooking class.
UNICEF/UN0345183/Wilson

 
Children need a large variety of vitamins and minerals to grow and develop the way they should.

To make sure every child gets the nutrients they need to stay healthy, UNICEF is funding mother-to-mother support groups, which educate mothers about age-appropriate food for their children.

 

2019A woman cuts meat during a cooking class at a mother to mother support group in Aweil.
UNICEF/UN0345179/Wilson

 

Cooking local dishes with locally available ingredients is part of the mothers’ group meetings. Everyone helps, either with preparing the food, doing dishes or looking after the children.

 

A woman washes dishes during a cooking class.
UNICEF/UN0345165/Wilson

 
Before anyone is allowed to touch the food, hands must be washed. All utensils and plates are also carefully cleaned.

The importance of clean water, sanitation and hygiene is part of the orientation at meetings. Poor hygiene can cause diarrhoea and is a major contributor to malnutrition among children.

 

A woman digs a firepit during a cooking class.
UNICEF/UN0345173/Wilson

 
When you don’t have a stove or a grill, you make one.

One of the participants is digging a hole in the ground with a knife. The hole is filled with charcoal and then used as a stove. Smart?

 

Women prepare porridge during a cooking class at a mother to mother support group in Aweil.
UNICEF/UN0345170/Wilson

 
Lead mother Bakhita is stirring the porridge while the other lead mother, who is also named Bakhita, is adding peanut paste to make it richer and more nutritious.

 

Wel Wel, 13 months, is fed porridge by his mother.
UNICEF/UN0345155/Wilson

 
Wel Wel is enjoying the porridge his mother Akech Piol helped prepare.

 

Amira is playing with one of the girls in her household in Aweil.
UNICEF/UNI206915/Wilson

 
Good nutrition makes healthy and happy babies.