Decreasing Chronic Malnutrition by 60% in Rwandan Communities!

By Brittany John – Health, Hunger, and Education Program Manager

Gardens for Health International (GHI) is addressing chronic malnutrition by equipping families with comprehensive health and agricultural knowledge that empowers families to make informed decisions.

YOUR generous donations have reached over 2,000 families, reducing chronic malnutrition by 60%!

Meet Francoise and her 3-year-old son!

Francoise and son

As a struggling farmer, street vendor and mother of a 3-year-old malnourished child, Francoise recently attended a GHI training. Before being enrolled in the program, Francoise was unaware that her child was malnourished. She stated, “I learned that my child was unhealthy according to the measurements taken, and eventually my child became healthy thanks to the new practices Gardens for Health taught me.” She goes on to say, “There is a difference between who I am now and who I used to be in terms of knowledge.”

Recipe for “malnutrition reduction” = splash of Knowledge +
dash of Resources +
sprinkle of Mentorship +

During the GHI training Francoise and 2,000 other women learned about home garden implementation, including but not limited to, raised bed design, composting, intercropping, and sterilization of water. She was also provided with resources and continued guidance to ensure the success of her family’s garden.

“We have learned about nutrition, malnutrition, how to identify kwashiorkor (Rwandan word for malnutrition) and how to make a balanced meal composed of four food colors,” she says.

This practical approach of creating a “color wheel” to define particular food groups has broad relevance for smallholder farmers. GHI has been so successful with this method that they are now working with the Rwandan Ministry of Health to scale their unique nutrition behavior change methodology nationwide! Their “color wheel” has been adopted by the government, and disseminated to over 50,000 community health workers across Rwanda.

Just $50 provides a family like Francoise’s with everything needed for home garden implementation to prevent chronic malnutrition!

At the core of the GHI curriculum is the belief that for the vast majority of smallholder farmers, the long-term solution to malnutrition lies in their backyards. Empowered as agents of change in their communities, GHI is ultimately equipping people with comprehensive health and agricultural knowledge that enables them to make informed decisions at the household level.

We are on track to help GHI continue enrolling 40 families per health center per season and aim to enroll double that amount to reach 80 families per health center per season.

While Rwanda is in many ways a role model for developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the gap between agricultural production and childhood malnutrition remains a challenge. Most recent estimates show that while over 75% of the population is engaged economically as farmers, 37.5% of children under five continue to suffer from chronic malnutrition.

CLICK HERE to help us double our impact efforts to decrease child malnutrition and bridge this gap!


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