Women play a vital role towards enhancing nutrition in a home or community. They are the custodians of a home in most rural areas, entrusted with the kitchen and what should be prepared from there. In other words the health of a family is usually in the hands of women in most rural areas.
Therefore, equipping them with nutritional messages is important not only for their well-being but also for the entire community given that in most cultures of Shangombo district, women oversee a variety of activities including farming.
With the foregoing, the Government of Zambia through the Scaling up Nutrition program has embarked on identifying, orienting and forming nutrition groups of women in Shangombo district called Nutrition Support Groups NSGs. Volunteer group leaders have since been identified to be trained and equipped with nutritional knowledge and best ways of delivering nutritional messages to their groups as well as the community.
In order to roll out the NSG model, training and orientation of the NSG model to volunteers has commenced in the district.
Speaking after a training session in Make village David Bunonge, a nutrition support group supervisor disclosed that the lessons are going on well so far in the district.
“We are certain that the volunteers will go out in their villages and bring about the needed change,” he said.
One of the volunteers, in Liyuwayuwa Mwiya Kafulo said she’s happy with the program as it has enlightened her in different ways of growing as well as preparing food that she never knew existed.
With the myths that pregnant women cannot eat eggs she said she will ensure that women eat healthy foods and are aware of nutritional benefits of foods for both mother and child.
Without good nutrition, children tend to have impared growth leading to stunted growth. When it happens this way, it means the child is lacking the right amounts of nutrients needed in the body. In order to curb the scourge, it is important that the scaling up nutrition II through the NSG’s disseminate appropriate nutritional messages to all parts of the district.
Shangombo District Commissioner, Mubita Siyamana said women are the backbone of the family and that most of the fields under agriculture that perform well are fields that are managed by women.
He said through the multi-sectoral approach of promoting good nutritional practices, it is evidently seen on the ground that there has been some improvement in terms of good nutrition practices in the communities.
The scaling up nutrition 1st 1000 Most Critical Days is a government programme coordinated by the National Food and Nutrition Commission with the aim of improving the health and nutrition status of pregnant and lactating women and children under five (5) years old. The programme is being implemented in the 10 wards of the district through various government ministries.
The program, which is now in its Second Phase, was launched in 2015 to address the malnutrition levels observed in the district. It has been implemented with various degrees of success in the wards.