In the week ending 7 August 2022, the FARM Activity engaged 30 farmers, 63 percent females and 16 percent youth, in Chivi District, Masvingo province, during the World breastfeeding week commemorations under the theme Step up for Breastfeeding – Educate and Support. Using the information they had received from the FARM Activity during trainings they educated other farmers using dramas and songs to show the importance of breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of life and up to the the age of 2 years or beyond with appropriate complementary feeding. Farmers also got an opportunity to get information on the benefits of breastfeeding which includes how breastmilk has antibodies which are good for the baby, and is easily digestible, how breastfeeding creates a bond between mother and child and how it is inexpensive amongst other benefits. The District Nutritionist, Mr Jacobson Pedzisai who was in attendance emphasized the theme and explained how everyone has a role to play in supporting breastfeeding mothers and creating an environment that supports them to breastfeed freely and comfortably. He highlighted how all ministries in attendance had a part to play as breastfeeding improves nutrition, ensures food security as well as reduces inequalities and urged them to spread the word on breastfeeding as they were going about their activities.
Farmers also took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of the mother getting a balanced diet when breastfeeding and getting two additional meals to sustain herself on her breastfeeding journey. Two meals, pumpkin in milk and sweet potato and avocado in milk mash, were prepared as examples of simple but nutritious food that could be eaten by the lactating woman. Those in attendance enjoyed the meal with one village head exclaiming how impressed he was with the lack of sugar compared to how tasty the meals were. He even went on to express how this message was needed in his village and gave those who were in attendance the mandate to spread the message to others so breastfeeding mothers can be supported.
“We have always neglected how mothers need time to breastfeed without knowing the benefits it has on our children. I am one person who would tell the mother to dig a hole to place the baby when we went to the field so that my wife could work. I did not know I was doing my child an injustice by them not being breastfed on demand and have surely learnt the benefits and will educate others on what I have learnt here,” said Magariro Tagwirei.