One of the biggest challenges we face in our work is helping communities provide the daily meal of fortified porridge through community-based childcare centres. This meal can be vital in supporting children’s healthy growth and development. In times of scarcity, it’s sometimes the only meal they get. We’ve been helping some communities to learn how to make their own, providing irrigation equipment and training.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were concerned that usual commercial food supplies would be more difficult or more expensive to obtain in the rural villages where we work. One solution appeared to be to try and support villages to manufacture their own – intended as more sustainable strategy for the future. Four communities planted crops of soya, maize and groundnuts – the essential ingredients to make the nutritious porridge. Irrigation helped get round the sometimes variable weather conditions and resulted in good harvests. The next stage was to learn how to make the porridge – this was sometimes a trial and error process as community members worked out the best taste and consistency. The result is a tasty nutritious porridge – some volunteers have noticed that the children prefer the flavour and there is less wastage of precious supplies. We are now exploring expanding this project to other villages.
This project was funded by a UK Aid Direct COVID-19 Rapid Response grant.