Lilongwe — Communities of Traditional Authority (TA) Chitekwere in Lilongwe have been commended for scaling up nutrition and hygiene practices in their areas for the past three years.
Programme Manager for Nutrition and Food Security at National Authorizing Office (NAO) Unit in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Lucy Maseko made the recommendation Tuesday when she toured European Union (EU), Oxfam Malawi in partnership Catholic Commission (CHC) Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Project at Sagawa Village in the area of TA Chitekwere
She noted that the objectives of the project seem to be bearing fruits taking in to account the strides and achievements communities have made and are enjoying.
"The area had problem of malnutrition before the project was initiated and over 124 children were affected by the number of the affected children has been reduced to 35 which is commendable," Maseko added.
The Programme Manager said communities have initiated the establishment of home gardens which are providing a lot of vegetables, fruits and carbohydrates for them to have a balance diet in their meals every day.
Maseko said the provision of balanced diet among households in the area has positive impact of reduction of stunting among under five children.
She said it was very encouraging to note that every household has a proper kitchen, toilets and pit latrines which are contributing to their proper hygiene practices.
"Communities have seen the importance of washing hands after using toilets with soap which is a positive contribution the project has made to the people," Maseko pointed out.
She praised men in the area for being in the forefront in community sensation on the importance of promoting nutrition and hygiene practices.
Livelihoods Resilience Programme Manager of Oxfam, Steve Kuliyazi said the SUN Project has made significant contribution at household level and most of the successful stories look more similar and encouraging.
He said Area Nutrition Coordinating Committees ANCC) at TA level have been more instrumental in the implementation process of the project which has been well supported by all the traditional leaders in the area.
"The SUN Project in which Oxfam and CHC is coordinating is being implemented in four districts namely, Lilongwe, Dowa, Salima and Nkhotakota. We started implementing the project in 2016 and we are winding up the project in November 2019, with a belief that issues of nutrition and hygiene will remain in communities mind," Kuliyazi said.
He said the project provides opportunity to families to venture in livestock farming as one way of sourcing proteins in complimenting their balanced diet.
Health Surveillance Assistance (HAS) for the Area, Charles Mumderanji said the area has over 7,706 households with a total population of 35,011 with 5,952 children are under five.
"Before the Project was initiated in the area of TA Chitekwere, malnutrition status was at eight per cent but now it has reduced to three per cent," he said.
Promoter of Talandira Care Group, Nyamulani Folopensi thanked Oxfam and Catholic Health Commission with the support from EU for enlightening the communities on the issue of nutrition and hygiene.
He said communities are being encouraged to follow six group of food in their homes and adhere to best hygiene practice in order to reduce the spread of water borne diseases.
TA Chitekwere has 584 clusters, 52 Care Groups and 27 Promoter with one ANCC and 15 Village Nutrition Coordinating Committees and the total number of beneficiary households is 5,655.