Musanze district in Rwanda has launched a new community campaign aimed at combating stunting, a condition resulting from malnutrition that affects physical and mental development in children. The campaign aims to encourage the population to raise at least two chickens to lay eggs, which are a nutritious source of protein and essential vitamins.
Latest data from the Rwanda Demographic Health Survey in 2020 shows that Musanze district has a prevalence rate of 45.4 per cent, making it the third district with the highest prevalence in the country. Ngororero and Nyabihu districts have even higher prevalence rates, with 50.5 per cent and 46.7 per cent, respectively.
Official data by Musanze district show that at present, about 6,658 pregnant women have been supported with over Rwf36million since last year through Nutrition Sensitive Direct Support (NSDS).
The programme provides Rwf30,000 to every pregnant woman per three months.
The new campaign is an extension of these efforts, focusing on increasing access to nutritious food sources by encouraging the community to raise chickens for their eggs.
Speaking to The New Times, Musanze District Mayor Janvier Ramuli said that women are being mobilized to use direct support for rearing at least two chickens and planting three edible fruit-trees.
Eggs are an affordable and easily accessible source of protein and essential vitamins, making them an ideal food for combatting malnutrition. By raising their chickens, families can access eggs on a daily basis, ensuring a consistent source of nutrition for their children.
"Stunting is caused by lack of enough nutrients. Getting food rich in proteins can sometimes be challenging, but there are different measures the district has put in place including a 'two chickens per family' programme through community mobilization," Ramuli said.
Musanze District is working with different stakeholders, including GiveDirectly, one of the NGOs operating in the Shingiro Sector, to change the livelihood of low-income households.
The NGO along with the district seeks to support poor families with small projects of their choice, according to Moses Rwaka, External Relations for GiveDirectly said.
"The common problem here is food insecurity and low-income households leading to lack of the capacity for increasing livelihood on their own," he added.
Parents speak out
Josianne Nyirandayambaje said the new program will help in eradicating cases of stunting in the district since new initiatives are even being established in the area.
"There are a lot of changes for those who have received the support. Some bought chicken which lay eggs for their children, making it easier to improve a balanced diet," Ange Nyiragaju said.