Improving nutrition at vulnerable communities in Uganda

Aisha Nakibule, the woman Leader of Nkobazambogo farmers group, and SAA President Dr. Kitanaka
Aisha Nakibule, the woman Leader of Nkobazambogo farmers group, and SAA President Dr. Kitanaka

According to the global nutrition report 2021 , 28.9% of children under 5 years in Uganda are stunted, 3.5% are wasting away and 32.8% of women of reproductive age (15 to 49 years) suffer from anemia. In 2020, the prevalence of vitamin A deficiencies was 8.9%. There is  insufficient data on Uganda’s progress towards achieving the low birth weight target, and its prevalence.

To combat *malnutrition and its effects, Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) under its pillar of Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture is empowering Smallholder farmers in Uganda to address malnutrition in the short and long term.  Nkobazambogo farmers group in Mubende District, is one of five groups that is championing the cultivation and consumption of the nutrient-dense High Iron-Rich Beans and Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) promoted by SAA in collaboration with HarvestPlus to eliminate Vitamin A and iron deficiency. High Iron Rich beans and OSP are made accessible to malnourished, wasting away children and women of reproductive age. The group leaders, particularly women are taught on good practices during child-feeding and caregiving including meal planning, food preparation, processing, and preservation.

The nutrient-dense high Iron-rich beans and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes that farmers in Mubende district grow to curb nutrient deficiencies and improve their livelihood

Aisha Nakibule the woman Leader of Nkobazambogo farmers group expressed gratitude for the training skills saying the skills helped her, and the community learn to provide nutritious food for their children. “As a mother of five, I appreciate and put into practice the skills and tools taught to me because I now know how to combine a variety of foods to intensify nutrients in each meal for a balanced diet.”

The high Iron Beans and OSP have helped give many children a new lease on life and eliminated iron deficiencies among lactating mothers in the community.   “It is rare to find underweight or malnourished children in our village; four years ago, it was a different story," Aisha explained. 

Aisha says the beans are tasty and cook faster saving costs on charcoal and firewood. Last season, her group harvested eleven (11) bags of beans. “We sold the nine (9) bags and invested the money ($416) in our savings initiative. Two (2) bags were divided among group members for home consumption and fifty (50) kilograms retained for next planting season."

Sasakawa Africa Association remains committed to supporting vulnerable communities through knowledge and technology transfer. During the peak of COVID-19 Pandemic, SAA distributed nutrient-dense crops to farmers in the intervention areas to address hidden hunger. 

High iron-rich beans and groundnuts source served during Dr. Makoto Kitanaka's visit to Nkobazambogo Farmers group in Mubende district

*Malnutrition is a deficiency, excesses, or imbalances in a person's intake of energy and/or nutrients.

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