UPEI community nutrition interns in Kenya make a difference with summer program
By Colleen Walton
Three UPEI nutrition interns helped deliver training on Infant And Young Child Feeding and Lifestyle Disease Prevention to women’s groups and dairy farmers in Naari and Buuri.
Gil, Katie and Kelsey were part of the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program and spent three months delivering participatory training with farmers and improving FHF’s nutrition programming. The students' energy and commitment certainly raised the food and nutrition interest of many participants.
While much of the information is known by most Canadians, health information is not easily available in Kenya. The importance of a balanced diet, at different life stages, is provided to participants in messages that are practical to implement and culturally-appropriate.
The main focus of training is on optimal growth and development of infants and young children, and prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The nutrition work of FHF directly links the improved farm production of vegetables, fruit, milk, eggs, beans and maize with achievable ways to combat malnutrition.
The interns also helped to deliver and evaluate school nutrition clubs. These clubs are affiliated with FHF partner schools and provide hands-on agriculture, food and nutrition education for grade 5 students.
Student participants reported really enjoying the program and that they taught their family or neighbours how to garden in small spaces using improvised methods and the importance of eating vegetables and other methods of preparing ‘super’ foods – Kenyan style.
Not only that, but these students told us that they gained confidence and achieved better marks in academic courses! Win Win. They are the future.