Food to Know, Seeds to Grow

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Food to Know, Seeds to Grow

Lubumbashi, Congo (Kinshasa)Roma, Italy
Year Founded:
2009
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

AMKA fights the root causes of child malnutrition in the southern rural area of Katanga, DRC, by: 1) improving food knowledge, through the training of mothers on nutrition principles, 2) promoting a nutrient-rich agriculture, through the creation of community gardens for high-protein crops.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In the southern rural area of Katanga, 25.4% of children under 5 years old are seriously malnourished. An internal study showed that child malnutrition in this area is not due to a lack of food in general, but to a combination of different factors: a protein-poor diet, inadequate farming techniques, a lack of local knowledge on weaning and family planning, as well as an insufficient awareness on the nutritional properties of common local foods.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The project aims to face the problem through 2 levels of intervention: 1) Training of mothers on weaning, nutrition principles and the preparation of high-protein foods. Awareness campaigns use creative methods, such as songs, games and cooking classes where mothers learn new recipes for highly nutritive dishes, in a spirit of enjoyment and collaboration. 2) Creation of community gardens to introduce new crops such as soya, groundnuts, and beans. The harvest is divided into 3 parts: the first third is given to the Health Center in Kanyaka, for children in care at the Nutritional Unit; the second third stays with the villagers who have worked the field (for sale or self-consume); the last third is kept as seed for the next planting season.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In January AMKA visited the village of Fipango, where Mama Geltrude took part to the awareness campaign on how to recognize and prevent child malnutrition. She found out that one of her children, Kisimba, aged 2, was seriously malnourished, so she brought him to the Nutritional Unit in Kanyaka. While there she took free cooking classes and learned new high-protein recipes. Her husband together with other farmers agreed to work on a community garden in Fipango. They received from AMKA peanuts and beans seeds, as well as the technical support from AMKA's agronomist. Today Geltrude knows how to prevent that one of her children will fall back into malnutrition. With the harvest of beans and groundnuts, Geltrude can now properly feed her family.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

To date, 4 community gardens growing nutrient-rich crops have been started, and more than 800 people have participated to AMKA’s awareness campaigns on child malnutrition. The success of this pilot project has encouraged us to scale our prevention-focused approach. “Food to know, Seeds to grow” will help AMKA start 10 new community gardens and offer trainings and awareness campaigns on weaning, nutrients, and preparation of high-protein dishes to 3000 mothers. The local community overall will benefit from a more nutrient-rich agriculture, empowered farmers, a diffuse local knowledge of nutrition principles, and an increased food security. As a consequence, in 1 year time, we envisage a decrease of 40% of cases of child malnutrition in the region targeted by AMKA.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

After the first supply of seeds, farmers won’t need more any donations from AMKA, because the harvest will be partially reused for the next sowing. Thanks to the provided technical assistance, farmers will also be able to experiment new farming techniques and replicate them in the future, also in family gardens. Awareness campaigns on nutrition will have a long-lasting impact: the knowledge gained by mothers will spread in their communities.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Different organizations that try to counter child malnutrition in Congo, focus on limiting the emergency by providing nutrients to malnourished children. Some ready-to-use therapeutic formulas, such as Plumpy’nut, are able to rapidly treat cases of acute malnutrition. However, after a child recovers, his family is left with no means to prevent relapses or the occurrence of new cases. AMKA wants to address the underlying causes of child malnutrition. By providing locals with knowledge, seeds and technical training, “Food To know, Seeds to Grow” encourages self-reliance and food security.
Team

Founding Story

In summer 2009, AMKA’s volunteers, readapted a Swahili song on food and nutrition properties of local food. They taught it, just for fun, to some of the mothers whose children were hospitalized at the Nutritional Therapy Unit in Kanyaka. The song started soon to be sang by the whole community, also children at school liked to sing and clap it. While singing, the message passed: “Each food has a specific nutritive property that is important for our body”. Seeing the success of the song, AMKA’s team realized the importance of involving the population with fun and simple activities that could teach them some practices to prevent child malnutrition and relapses. That was the moment were the project “Food To know, Seeds To Grow” started gaining shape.
About You
Organization:
AMKA
About You
First Name

Eugenia

Last Name

Pietrogrande

About Your Organization
Organization Name

AMKA

Organization Country

, RM, Roma

Country where this project is creating social impact

, KA, Lubumbashi

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them
Nutrients For All
Where do you ensure the availability of nutrients?

Nutrient-rich farming, Full nourishment foods, Human wellness and vitality.

If you had greater capacity, which additional sectors would you like your solution to target - either through expansion, partnership, or thought exchange?

Healthy environments.

How specifically would this added capacity help you improve the quality, efficiency, or sustainability of your existing product or service?

If we had greater capacity, we would improve the environment and soil health by training farmers on water harvesting, irrigation techniques, the use of organic methods, such as composting for fertilizer and non-chemical pest control practices. By preserving the ecosystem, we would improve the sustainability of our project, because a healthy soil can ensure the growing of nutritious and biologically diverse food.