Nutrition Education Centers: A recipe for self-reliance

Betty Kagoya’s youngest daughter was so small at birth that Kagoya named her Miracle. But in the Kamuli District, where poverty is pervasive and families have little access to proper nutrition, Miracle’s long-term prospects were uncertain. By age 18 months, Miracle was severely malnourished. Kagoya, who was then pregnant with her fourth child, had become malnourished as well. At that critical moment, Kagoya came into contact with Paul Mudhasi, host of the Kiwungu Nutrition Education Center (NEC). Kagoya and Miracle were quickly admitted to the NEC, where both began receiving its nutrient dense porridge. Miracle started to improve within a month’s time. Kagoya grew stronger, too, and soon gave birth to a 10-pound boy named Timothy.

At the NEC, Kagoya began learning about proper nutrition, sanitation and farming practices. Today, thanks to the training she received, Kagoya is able to raise the ingredients to make her own porridge and better feed her family. She was one of 131 NEC graduates in 2017 and plans to join the CSRL crafts program to begin generating household income. “My daughter, Miracle, was so tiny, her leg didn’t even look like a leg. But now she is a big beautiful girl,” says Kagoya, who eagerly tells others about the assistance and instruction she received at the NEC. Through her involvement in the Nutrition Education Center and other CSRL programs, Kagoya’s future, and that of her family, has been nourished and transformed.

Between 2014 and 2017, according to Associate Director Dorothy Masinde, the Nutrition Education Centers served 243,396 cups of nutrient-rich porridge, averaging around 1,000 calories per client each day. Children attending NECs recorded average weekly weight gains of between .3 and .4 pounds. In addition — because proper nutrition is only one component in achieving and maintaining good health — the centers helped 2,298 children complete age specific immunizations.

Pictured: Betty Kagoya (center), Miracle (left) and Timothy (right)