Originally published at: http://humidtropics.cgiar.org/nutrition-in-kenya-malezi-bora-week-food-biodiversity-for-improved-nutrition/
This is Part 3 of three special reports from Vihiga County, Kenya, where a Humidtropics research project is empowering the community to better use available agricultural biodiversity to improve nutrition all year round. Esther Odera, Nutrition Coordinator of Vihiga County, and local partner in this research initiative, reports on the upcoming Malezi Bora Week.
Malezi Bora is a Swahili phrase meaning “good upbringing”. Malezi Bora weeks are observed bi-annually in the health calendar of Kenya, in May and November.
The national theme for the next Malezi Bora Week is Improving the Life of the Mother and the Newborn. This has led the team at the Health Department of Vihiga County to choose Food Biodiversity for Improved Nutrition as the theme for our local celebrations. This theme cuts across all the components of Malezi Bora, as good and proper nutrition will lead to a healthy pregnancy outcome and a healthy baby!
This theme was inspired by the presence of Bioversity International in our County who has been working with the local communities to empower them to improve nutrition using locally available agricultural biodiversity. Following on from the diagnostic survey, the communities learned that the results showed that dietary diversity was poor in the district, yet we have very rich biodiversity around us – wild, cultivated and domesticated. This led to a series of workshops working with communities in five locations in our County in order to raise awareness about the importance of dietary diversity and the benefits of healthy diets.
Esther Odera participating in a nutrition education session in Vihiga County.
We are now seeing that community members, through mother-to-mother support groups and community health volunteers, are beginning to understand the importance of diversifying foods, and health personnel are repeating the same messages to their clients at health facilities. This campaign is spearheaded by our County Nutrition Department, and will culminate with the Malezi Bora Week celebrations in November. Various activities have been organized, including special nutrition education sessions throughout the week, to spread the word among our population, and to ensure that the theme is a success.
This research is being carried out in collaboration with the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) as part of Bioversity International's Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems initiative.
Read the first two reports of this special series:
Part 1: Nutrition in Kenya: Putting Nutritious Diversity Back on the Plate
Part 2: Nutrition in Kenya: Community Action Gathers Momentum
Blog and photo by Esther Odera, Vihiga County Nutrition Coordinator. Blog edited by Valérie Poiré, Communication Officer, Humidtropics.
Read Esther's original blog on the Bioversity International website: Malezi Bora – Food Biodiversity for Improved Nutrition in Kenya.