I’ve also seen first hand how Save the Children projects are already helping to turn things around.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from the trip it’s that the people of Rwanda want to change things, they just need to be shown how. Key to achieving it is education. Once families are taught what sorts of foods are best to feed their children and once they know the best way to grow their own then things will start to change.
Kitchen Garden projects are making such a difference.
The President of the group I visited, Vestine, donated her land to the project. In a space of 35 x 15m members of surrounding villages are taught to grow their own crops; carrots, cabbage, onion, sweet potato, beetroot and green leaves.
All aspects of growing are taught including different models which can be used in the differing spaces that each person has at home.
Every member then teaches these skills to their neighbours and families – the knowledge is shared.
At another Kitchen Garden project, whose name literally translates as ‘cook well’ we were treated to demonstrations of how the ladies cook their food and how they make their own soya milk.
They also shared a nutritious lunch with us of cooked cassava, beans, sweet potato, cassava leaf soup enriched with little fishes and nuts and a type of marinated tofu, made as a bi-product of the soya milk.
Members of the group are taught the essential aspects of nutrition, food groups, nutritional values and what consititutes a good balanced diet to keep them and their families healthy. They learn the importance of good hygiene, sing nutrition songs and learn all sorts of other ways to use the food they grow.
Here they are making their own pineapple juice.
Yes I worried about fingers being lost here!
Obviously places in the group are limited but each and every one will take the knowledge back to their own homes and teach others to do the same.
Every one of them wants to see the end of malnutrition – these projects are helping them to achieve it and it’s why Save the Children is a cause I believe in.
I also had the opportunity to visit an adult literacy class, jointly run by Save the Children and CHF.
Each lesson is 2 hours long and is made up of 30 minutes of nutrition, 30 minutes of reading and writing and one hour of maths. The class was lively with the keenest students I’ve ever seen. Mums are allowed to bring the little ones so there is no barrier to them attending.
The scheme currently has 400 teachers and will educate 4000 people in 6 months, a massive achievement. In August the students will graduate with a certificate from the Minister of Education but will also leave with so much more. Operating in just 8 of the 30 Rwandan districts you can see that expansion of the scheme could potentially reach so many more.
The class was such a mix of people men and women of all sorts of ages. Everyone wanted to learn for different reasons; so that they could read road signs and travel, to read the bible, to be able to write and read their own letters, to help them in their work, to be able to sing more songs, all very different but they all get a good healthy dose of nutrition teaching in the process. A bit like us sneaking vegetables into picky eaters to make sure they’re getting their five a day.
Talking to the class they thoroughly enjoy it, they are keen and so so willing to learn and do well. It was such an encouraging thing to see.
Whilst these projects are brilliant they still don’t reach far enough, the programmes need to be expanded which is why I’m asking you to support Save the Children in their push to end the Hidden Hunger.
The solutions to childhood malnutrition are simple, the people want to do it for themselves, they just need to be shown how.
If you do just one thing:
- Pledge your support to the #nameaday campaign – the more support we have, the more we can get the government’s attention and encourage David Cameron to #name a day to hold a global food summit. Visit:
and pledge your own date to do something to make a difference and support the push to end the ‘Hidden Hunger’.