posted by: RAINS on December 19, 2018


 

With improved knowledge on nutrition and by using healthy local ingredients, malnutrition can be prevented.

As it stands, malnutrition is an issue that impacts far too many children in the Northern Region of Ghana. According to the World Food Programme, 33 percent of children in the Northern Region under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition.1 Further, micronutrient deficiencies abound: anaemia impacts approximately between 74 and 82 percent of children.1

The second United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is “Zero Hunger”, as eliminating both hunger and malnutrition is critical for human development and for achieving other SDGs, such as quality education.Both children’s physical and mental development is limited when they are faced with malnutrition.3 Physically, severe malnutrition can cause stunting (low-height-for-age ratio) or wasting (low-weight-for-height ratio).3 Mentally, it can impede cognitive development and reduce their learning comprehension.3

Thus, a balanced diet is particularly important for pregnant woman, breast-feeding mothers, and young children to ensure both child’s healthy upbringing and attainment of education. For sustainable and holistic development, malnutrition needs to be addressed. As RAINS works with rural communities in Northern Ghana to attain quality education, proper nutrition is an important aspect of this.

Hence, RAINS’ Integrated Community Development (INCOME) Programme team spent the week of Dec. 10th to 13th in four communities in the Mion, Nanton, and West Gonja Districts with nutrition officers from the Ghana Health Service to facilitate food demonstrations in each of the communities.

The purpose was to demonstrate that these communities already have nutritious ingredients that they can use to cook healthy meals. This includes foods such as millet, soy beans, groundnuts, moringa, fish, and much more. Further, the nutrition officers taught how these food-items can be best cooked for optimum nutrition value.

A display of ingredients used in the food demonstrations, organized into food groups.

At each food demonstration, the nutrition officers divided participants into five groups with a specific cooking task. Upon completion of the cooking, a group representative described what they did to the group at large to share what they learned with all the participants.

Hopefully, these communities will incorporate this knowledge into their day-to-day cooking, and it will be a step in the direction of achieving Zero Hunger in Northern Ghana.

 

References

1World Food Programme. (2018). Ghana. Where we work. Retrieved from www1.wfp.org/countries/ghana

2United Nations. (n.d.) Zero hunger: Why it matters. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Goal-2.pdf

[3] World Health Organization. (16 Feb 2018). Malnutrition. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malnutrition