By Brian Wasili, MANA
Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) has stressed the need to equip area nutrition coordinating committees (ANCCs) with various skills on preparation of nutritious food so that community members should share the knowledge to adolescents in their communities.
On the sidelines of a week-long training for ANCCs on Monday in Mwanza, District Council’s principal nutrition, HIV&AIDS officer, Kondwani Chabvula said capacity building of the local structures would induce the participants to streamline activities of Adolescent Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture (ANSA) project which is being implemented by FUM in the district.
“Basically, we are imparting knowledge on food processing, preparation, utilization, preservation and hygiene so that the nutrition committees share the same with the adolescents in their localities.”
He said the nutrition committees would also be equipped with knowledge on how to prepare nutritious food with all the six food groups from locally available food crops.
Chabvula said local food sources such as meat, legumes, cereals, oils, fruits and vegetables have crucial dietary food elements for food diversification which is being advocated for by government in the fight against stunting.
Currently, national stunting prevalence is at 37 percent as compared with that of Mwanza District, which is at 31 percent.
ANCC is a crucial local structure at traditional authority level that works in collaboration with District Nutrition Coordinating Committee (DNCC) on nutrition matters at district council secretariat.
Participants to the training, which has been funded by Japanese Social Development Fund through the World Bank, were drawn from ANCCs in traditional authorities Govati and Nthache where the project is being implemented in Mwanza.
Health surveillance assistant from T/A Govati, Nesta Mpinganjira commended the FUM for the training, saying it was an eye-opener on food preparation using locally available food stuffs.
“Previously, I didnt know that we can make doughnuts from cassava and potato products, which is rich in nutrients required for our bodies,” Mpinganjira said.
She pledged to share the knowledge gained during the training with the adolescents and also utilize it at her household to keep her family healthy and strong.
ANSA is a three-year pilot project launched in 2018 aimed at increasing production and promotion of nutritious foods and improving access to livelihood opportunities among selected adolescents in two districts of Mwanza and Ntchisi where the project is being piloted.
It is being implemented by FUM targeting 6,000 adolescents (4,500 girls and 1,500 boys) in the two districts.