Family Health and Nutrition
Maternal and child survival are high health challenges and priorities for rural Rwanda.
Trained workers visit, advise and care for mums and babies, providing practical support towards healthy pregnancies and full-term healthy babies.
Here the focus is on healthy early child development which starts in pregnancy. This includes advice on:
Nutrition throughout pregnancy and beyond
Training on how to build a kitchen garden
How to grow and prepare nutritious vegetables
How to incorporate protein into their diets
If a mother has children in more than one age group she attends more than one meeting a week. The leaders focus on FHN by involving both the mum and the dad which is in line with the government policy of having parents joining the local health centres to learn to look after themselves. Topics include HIV, hepatitis, vaccinations, family planning and infant mortality.
There is an obligation for the dad as well as the mum to go to the local centres for this training and it is the mother leader who ensures they attend. Since there has been progress in the last 10 years in local health services and resources, rather than duplicate in our associations, the mother leaders don’t need to be experts but need to ensure that the parents participate.
Each centre develops a larger kitchen garden which is used to train the women collectively and then they are given seeds to go to their homes and start their own kitchen garden.
The women are trained to care for small animals e.g. goats and chickens that have been given as gifts from ERIS. The use of the manure assists in the good production of vegetables and the chickens they receive give them a valuable source of protein from the eggs. The eggs can also be sold to provide a source of income on a daily basis. They are taught how to reproduce chicks which they can also sell for income or keep to increase their egg production.