The County Government of Busia in collaboration with Egerton University and Boitekanelo College of Botswana nutrition and dietetics exchange students internship program, had a community nutrition, extension and outreach on dietary diversity for improved nutrition outcomes for women and young children.
Through the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project, a number of stakeholders who converged at Wakhungu Hatcheries in Samia Sub County, including County Fisheries and Nutrition officers, fish farmers and vendors , community Health Volunteers(CHVs) came together for sensitization on nutrition, health benefits of fish, women and child food diversity and importance of value addition and diversity.
Among the activities included participatory cooking of fish value added products and diverse diets from other food groups, demonstrations of cooked food and sensory evaluation of the cooked food products.
Busia County Nutrition Coordinator Scholastic Nabade noted that stunting levels in children below the age of five stands at 22.2%, saying that it’s so alarming considering that the agricultural potential Busia County has.
“Mulnutrition is not a burden for the health sector alone, and thus the need to bring on board other sectors in order to fast-track mulnutrition issues to be able to achieve the World Health Organization goals of reducing stunted growth and increasing breastfeeding since our target household is the same,” said Nabade.
She added that lack of knowledge is one of the factors leading to mulnutrition and that is why they are embracing partnerships so as to trickle down key information to relevant households including pregnant women, lactating mothers among others.
Dr Maureen Cheserek, lecturer in the Department of human nutrition, Egerton University said their aim was to train and validate good agricultural and nutrition practices and technologies adopted by farmers to see to it that they improve their nutrition and livelihood.
“From our baseline survey, we realized that most of the farmers do not consume fish and therefore we felt it good to sensitize them on the health benefits of fish and value addition,” she added and appreciated the partnership and commitment of the County Government of Busia, emphasizing on the importance of solving nutrition problems together that will strengthen their professional work to achieve more.
Grace Khatenya, a masters student in human nutrition, said Africa has almost similar nutrition problems and that she is happy that the program gives them an opportunity to come together to mentor each other to solve the issues through research.
Thato Gokatweng from Botswana alluded to the fact that different perspectives they get from community interaction will guide them to new interventions in addressing mulnutrition.
A farmer, Patrick Nyamori who started fish farming with the Economic stimulus program (ESP), welcomed more of such trainings so that they can be empowered as he called on more men to come on board to support on matters nutrition.
Similar programs have been implemented in Nairobi, Nakuru, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kericho, Siaya, Kitui, Taita Taveta and Kilifi Counties.