Food Heroes: Healthy Families in Tanzania
In Mundemu, Tanzania, a young family is prospering through our Irish Aid-funded AIM Health Plus Programme.
Nestled between village homes and dry grass speckled with yellow flowers in Mundemu, Tanzania, lives a family of three: mum; Anamaria, dad, Severini and their gorgeous daughter, Jennifer.
At two years and ten months old, Jennifer closes her tired eyes as she rests upon her mum’s lap. It is tiring being two, especially when adults interrupt your favourite time of day: naptime.
Anamaria met her Community Health Worker (CHW), Rosalia, when she was two months pregnant with Jennifer. “I wish that every sub-village had a CHW. I can spend enough time with Jennifer,” says Anamaria. Full of character at such a young age, it is no wonder, as all parents know, that Anamaria loves spending time with her daughter.
Anamaria explains what she has learnt since meeting her CHW, saying: “My CHW provided education on the importance of a balanced diet, health facilities nearby and when to starting breastfeeding and introducing different foods. I am very happy to have a CHW as it would have been harder without her.”
In addition to the important nutrition messaging from Rosalia Anamaria’s family are growing their own staple crops of sorghum, groundnuts and njugu (peanuts).
Initially visiting Anamaria every three months when Jennifer was younger, Rosalia now visits the family less often as they have implemented all that she has taught them. The impact of CHWs like Rosalia is far-reaching as rates of breastfeeding and feeding frequency among children are increasing, while wasting (low weight for height in children), a strong predictor of mortality among children under five, is steadily reducing in Mundemu.
Rosalia’s impact stretches further than herself and Jennifer, explains Anamaria; “My husband helps me with simple household chores and collects water for the family.” This is a wonderful help for Anamaria as traditional attitudes hinder fathers from helping with domestic chores and raising children. Severini is testament to the impact had by CHWs in Mundemu.
Together with local communities and inspiring #FoodHeroes, CHW’s are helping to build stronger livelihoods, improve nutrition and make hunger a thing of the past. Gladly, the rates of households that are severely food insecure in Mundemu are decreasing. We take the opportunity to thank these #FoodHeroes who are helping to grow, nourish and sustain our world.