Small, steady steps make a difference, especially for mothers in Gudele, a suburb of Juba, who are leading the transformation of their community, one kitchen garden at a time.World Vision East Africa Regional Leader Lilian Dodzo witnessed this during her recent visit nutrition program sites in Juba.
This week, Lilian Dodzo, World Vision East Africa Regional Leader, visited the Kimu Health Centre in Gudele, where she witnessed the life-saving impact of the Kitchen Garden initiative. World Vision South Sudan, in collaboration with UNICEF, the World Food Programme, and World Vision Hong Kong, has worked tirelessly to improve children's health and nutrition in Gudele.
During her visit yesterday, members of the Mother-to-Mother Support Group welcomed Lilian with songs and dances. These mothers were eager to showcase their thriving kitchen garden.
The mothers received a series of training from World Vision and have since taken it upon themselves to educate their fellow community members and caregivers on how to prepare nutritious vegetables to enhance their children's diet. The support group provides free counseling to caregivers and the community on optimal maternal and infant nutrition practices, disseminates health messages, and addresses pregnancy-related myths.
"I am truly impressed by the commitment and dedication of the Mother-to-Mother Support Group. Their efforts are making a profound difference in the lives of vulnerable children in South Sudan” ~ Lilian Dodzo
The Kitchen Garden Initiative, focusing on sustainable agricultural practices, has bolstered the availability and accessibility of nutritious food at the health centre and community. By teaching mothers and caregivers how to cultivate their vegetables, the program ensures a steady supply of fresh produce that contributes to a balanced diet for their children.
The impact of the Kitchen Garden initiative exceeded the immediate goals of improved nutrition. By empowering women, the program is also advancing gender equality and promoting community engagement. The ripple effects of these efforts can create lasting change in the country whose food insecurity continues to worsen.
Empowered community members creating ripples of transformation in South Sudan. Together, they say they can grow ENOUGH healthy food to raise and protect the future generation of the country.
Lilian emphasised the importance of partnerships in achieving lasting change in the community. "Our collaboration with UNICEF, the World Food Programme, and World Vision Hong Kong has been vital in driving positive outcomes for children's health in South Sudan," she stated. "Together, we are building a brighter future for the most vulnerable in our society."
By nurturing partnerships and empowering communities, the kitchen garden intitiave can expand and be replicated. And World Vision is determined to make this happen as it remains steadfast in ending child hunger and malnutrition and giving children a better chance to have healthier, happier, fuller lives.
Story and photos by Moses Philliph Dananyeno Sakondo, World Vision South Sudan Communications Coordinator