Resilience & Nutrition Security

Zambia: Resilience & Nutrition Security

Almost 60% of Zambia's population relies on agriculture as the main source of livelihood. Their dependence on the rainy season, which due to climate change is becoming more and more unreliable and inadequate, is increasing the risk of insufficient production and subsequent malnutrition and poverty. Furthermore, poor infrastructure and remoteness of village areas makes it difficult for local people to access markets and health services.

Together with local and international partners, we focus our efforts on helping children 5 years old and younger as well as pregnant and nursing women. In order to tackle the problem of malnutrition most effectively, we employ an innovative approach which supports several interconnected areas - agriculture, nutrition, access to drinking water and proper hygiene habits. We are helping the local people adopt sustainable processes, which will ensure higher production of nutritionally-rich crops, easier access to markets and a healthier life.

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Ongoing aidORPast aid programmes

Sending life-saving messages to mothers and caregivers

Sending life-saving messages to mothers and caregivers

We are launching a project called mobile health or mHealth in the Western Province of Zambia. It aims to improve the health of pregnant women and newborn babies and their mothers through easy access to quality health information and proper care. This is usually hindered by many barriers related to low literacy rates in remote rural areas.  However, as has been demonstrated in Angola, Cambodia and Nepal, this barrier can be overcome through the provision of mobile voice messages in the mother's language, which are regularly delivered to mothers during the first 6 months of their babies' lives. These inform registered users about breastfeeding, infant nutrition, vaccinations, recognition and treatment of childhood diseases, good hygiene practices, as well as maternal health. In the Western Province of Zambia (specifically Mongu and Nalolo), the project is now in the testing phase.
 
An integrated approach aimed at reducing malnutrition in the Western Province

An integrated approach aimed at reducing malnutrition in the Western Province

The aim of this project is to lower the malnutrition rates in children under five, especially in households that are headed by women.  In order to provide an increased intake of nutrition for these most vulnerable groups we are working together with the communities in several neighbouring regions using an integrated multi-sector approach. We provide people with seeds of resilient plants with high nutritional value, for example legumes such as peanuts, beans or bambara nuts and vegetables such as amaranth, onion, carrot or melon. The villagers can grow these not just for their own consumption, but with the assistance of trained local businessmen and women they can sell their products at local markets. This approach helps improve health and nutrition of families and assists in their financial self-sufficiency.

Besides agriculture, the project also provides training for the communities, health centres, and volunteers in relation to usage of drinking water and correct hygiene habits that help stop the spread of disease and lower the risk or greater malnutrition. Access to health services has major impact on the nutrition of children and mothers. Our team in Zambia will support the option for local women to give birth in health centres (currently more than half of all women give birth at home) and train local health volunteers in community-based treatment of malnourished children.

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