The FARM Activity trained 65 farmers, 62 % females and 40 % youths, from Shingiriro Yebudiriro Producer Group in Ward 2, Gwamatenga and Rumwanjiva clusters in Ward 6 of Mwenezi district of Masvingo province, on optimal handwashing, soap making, dietary diversity and meal demonstrations for improved nutrition and hygiene outcomes. The three groups are under the USAID-funded Zambuko Resilience Challenge program implemented by Mwenezi Development Training Centre, which has laid the substructure interventions that FARM is leveraging on to maximize beneficiary benefits. As part of FARM’s interventions, farmers received training on dietary diversity and meal demonstrations using their on-farm produce.
The trainings provided knowledge on food groups and nutrient functions and encouraged farmers to consume a minimum of 5 out of 10 food groups. To practically demonstrate utilization of different food groups in meal preparation for balanced diets, meal demonstrations showcased three recipes, namely, Zimbabwe multi-mix porridge, mashed pumpkin, and cowpea sausage. Ward 6 councilor, Imbayago Mukachani, commended FARM for introducing the recipes and was pleasantly surprised that all the used ingredients were locally available. Farmers were particularly impressed with the Zimbabwe multi-mix porridge recipe due to the incorporation of staples for carbohydrates, legumes for proteins, and vegetables for minerals and vitamins, which households can consume during drought years as it only requires minimal cereal flour as compared to preparing sadza, the local staple. To ensure an easy supply of milk for use in the milk laden recipes, FARM introduced the beef-dairy model and encouraged farmers to milk their goats. In the past, farmers received goats under the pass-on scheme from Zambuko program and now they see the synergy working well to uplift their livelihoods.
Good hygiene practices were also emphasised and low-cost liquid soap was introduced to promote optimal handwashing. Farmers were capacitated to make 20 liters of liquid soap at a cost of $14 or $0.70 per liter; the same amount of soap would have cost at least five times more had farmers purchased the finished product from retailers, where 750 milliliters of the product costs $2.50. Village health worker, Vunganai Feleni Hofisi, was impressed to learn liquid soap making as this will complement his duty to promote hygienic practices to at least 100 households in Ward 2. Vunganai also cited low household consumption of eggs due to high poultry mortalities. FARM is working with the Department of Veterinary Services and drug suppliers Fivet, Farm and City, and Vet Distributors to introduce poultry vaccination schedules to curb the high mortalities