The world is facing an acute food and nutrition crisis. Malnutrition is responsible for the deaths of more than 3.5 million children globally each year, and it is a contributing factor in more than 1/3 of all deaths among children under five. Even when children survive, chronic malnutrition can disrupt mental and physical development, often with permanent consequences. Malnourished children are less likely to attend school, and when they do, they are less likely to succeed. Studies suggest that, in the future, these children are likely to earn less than their peers and will die earlier.
Gardens for Health International (GHI) works to make growing and eating food a part of the clinical treatment of malnutrition. They work with the primary caregivers of children diagnosed with malnutrition, to design and plant home gardens that provide both dietary diversity and crop biodiversity—improving not only the health of families but also the health of the land they farm. They are also providing agricultural training with small animals to teach the families about livestock.
At the same time, they understand that seeds alone cannot resolve the complex and inter-related issues that contribute to the high prevalence of malnutrition. Their health curriculum, which is developed and delivered by members of the communities they work in, is designed to address topics (such as hygiene, family planning and mental health) that make it harder for families to feed their children.
You can help. Just $25 covers half the costs for one family to receive seeds, tree seedlings and small livestock. Help give families a sustainable solution to hunger!
Update from the Field
Support from GreaterGood.org donors facilitates the delivery of our Health Center Program three times per year across 20 partner health centers. We aim to graduate 40 caregivers per health center per season, or 2,400 families per year and over 18,000 families total. The Home Garden Package that each family receives costs approximately $50 per family. Families like Francoise and Dubudonnee (pictured right).
Francoise is a street vendor who is married and lives with her husband in the Rwaza community of Musanze District. They have one child, Dubudonnee, who is currently 19 months old. Prior to joining GHI, Francoise and her family were somewhat aware of what constituted a balanced meal but weren't positive and felt ill-equipped to act on that knowledge. But now she says: “With this program, we were [taught] how to make a balanced meal composed of four food colors, It is an easy way to prepare a meal for everyone and to find food that makes a balanced meal". Going forward, Francoise is hopeful for the future of Dubudonnee. “Before being enrolled in this program, my child was unhealthy according to the measurements taken, and eventually my child became healthy – something I am grateful to GHI [for], due to these trainings.” She goes on to say “there is a difference between who I am now and who I used to be”.
Thanks to donors like you GHI's 533 caregivers received 1138 units of small livestock, 2067 seed packages, and 1255 seedlings in 2016. Upon graduation 319 new home gardens were established with the average number of vegetable varieties grown rising from 1.7 to 4.8. Furthermore, 63% of children graduated on an improved growth trajectory with an average 65% maintaining positive growth rates after 2 to 5 years. Children like Muniraguha Emmanuel (pictured right), with his mother Nisingizwe Bernadette.
Gardens for Health International works to provide agricultural solutions to chronic childhood malnutrition by:
-Partnering with Rwandan health centers to integrate agricultural support and health education into the clinical treatment of malnutrition.
‐Advocating for policies and programs that include agriculture in the treatment of malnutrition.
‐Providing technical assistance to regional partners who wish to adapt our model to their own communities.
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