Knowledge, Training and Local Foods Combat Malnutrition Among Children

“My name is Epiya. I am 37 years old, and the mother of eight children, including 3-year-old twins, Meshack and Shadrack who, until recently, were malnourished.   

“My twins were often ill; they suffered from fever, vomiting and diarrhea regularly. Because they were often sick, they could not eat well or play like other children their age. 

“One day, as I sat at home with my two children in my arms, seriously ill, I saw someone entering our parcel. They introduced themselves as the Community Health Volunteer and said that they were reaching out to parents whose children were suffering from malnutrition. He invited me to participate in a programme where I could learn new ways to use local foods to combat malnutrition and promote health for my children. 

“After introducing the reason for his visit, the community volunteer found that my two children, whom I was carrying in my arms, were suffering from malnutrition. This news bothered me a lot.

“Then, the volunteer invited me to participate in cooking demonstration sessions. I went. 

“I spent two weeks learning how to prepare local foods in new ways to improve the health of my children. The volunteer explained that these foods, like peanuts and vegetable, have a lot of nutritional value that they can help heal children, assuming the children have been vaccinated and we practice proper hygiene at home.

“Thanks to these classes, organised by World Vision, I learned how to create a balanced diet for infants and children. I was used to preparing the same meal all week, without considering the nutritional value of the ingredients.

“Now, I am a very happy woman. My twins have gone from malnourished to healthy.  

“To help me maintain the health of my children, World Vision supported me with 1 bag of cassava flour so I can start an income-generating activity. From what I earned, I was able to join the savings group which helps me save my money and be able to meet the food and health needs of all my children.

“In addition to savings I was able to generate from the flour, I also benefited from a rooster and four chickens that I am raising, to ensure the future of our children.

“From my savings, me and my husband were able to plant a cornfield, part of our harvest helped us feed the children and part of it we sold for income. 

“Thanks to all the good practices learned, I now teach other moms how to feed well and protect their children from malnutrition.

“The food preparation demonstration home was a great help for me. I learned a lot of good things that help me feed my children properly now.

“My twins, Meshack, and Shadrack, who were malnourished are now in good health. Thanks to World Vision and the Community Healthy Volunteer for their support in my community.”

In the fight against moderate and acute malnutrition as well as underweight children in the community, World Vision has adopted the Positive Deviance/Hearth approach. This is an internationally proven community model for recovering children suffering from malnutrition in their community. It targets children between 6 and 36 months of age who are mild, moderately or severely underweight by training volunteers who come alongside of families in the rehabilitation of their children suffering from malnutrition and the prevention of malnutrition in their households. explains Dr. Ngenda Chiza Philippe, Health and Nutrition Advisor for World Vision Democratic Republic of Congo. 

To learn more about additional work World Vision is doing to improve the health and nutritional conditions of children in the Demoncratic Republic of Congo, click here.