Pangeti Village, Mutasa District: Women in the fight against Malnutrition

In a care group, the Care Group leader is responsible for regularly visiting neighbor women (Care group clients), sharing best health and nutrition practices and facilitating behavior change at household level. The care group model have, proved to be a quick and effective way of transforming communities for improved health and nutrition outcomes using locally available resources.

Kurongeka support group is a group of 14 women in Pangeti village with Mutsa Mutete as the lead mother. The group was formed in August 2018 under the Multi-sectoral Community Based Model for stunting reduction (MCBM) program when Nutrition Action Zimbabwe (NAZ) trained the lead mothers on Infant and Young Child Feeding practices (IYCF). Soon after the trainings, the mothers started having monthly meetings where they would empower each other on IYCF and put in place strategies to fight stunting in their village. After a few months the lead mother relocated and that’s when Mutsa took over as the new lead mother with the assistance of the Village Health Worker (VHW). Currently the group comprises of one pregnant woman, two mothers with children under 6 months and nine mothers with children between 6 and 23 months. The mothers realized that some of the behaviors were not being adopted as a result of the resistance from mother-in-laws and they recruited two elderly women who they call the gogos of the group. The elderly women’s role is to engage the in-laws and push the agenda of health and nutrition behavior change.

With the help of the AGRITEX officer the group started their nutrition garden which served as a demo plot so that the group members would copy and do the same in their backyards. All the clients established their backyard nutrition gardens with the reassurance from the lead mother and VHW. This increased frequency of meetings per month as they now meet every Wednesday to attend to their garden as well as have their health and nutrition discussions. One of the group client, Winnet Ruzvidzo insinuated that it was one thing to have the food and it is yet another thing to know how to prepare the food. She appreciated the skills she got during cooking demonstrations as they helped her prepare complementary food for her child. The group hold cooking demonstrations every 3 months as they share recipes.

In September 2018, the group entered cooking competitions organized by NAZ and they took the second position. They were given 17 day old Boschveld chicks which they reared as a group and they are now at point of lay. Each group member would contribute 10 dollars a month for feed and they plan to incubate the eggs and share the chicks among themselves. Instead of waiting for the chicks from the group, the mothers embarked on individual poultry projects when they realized it was a cheaper source of animal source proteins and now each member has Boschveld chickens in their backyards.

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