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    School vegetable gardens

    For healthy eating in Mozambique

Helton, João, Márcia and Ines in their school's vegetable garden in Giguni
  • While in Italy the rate of childhood obesity is one of the highest among Western countries – second only to the United States -, in Mozambique about one child out of two aged 0 to 5 suffers from some form of malnutrition. With this project, we aim to help avoid the irreversible consequences that may arise from inadequate nutrition.

    Project’s objectives: to reduce drastically malnutrition rates in children aged 0 to 5 in the local communities of the Inhambane province, to create agri-food education to achieve a better exploitation of resources and to raise awareness on nutrition issues.

  • 9 nurseries involved in the activities

    540 mothers and teachers involved in the school vegetable gardens

    15,000 under-5s benefitting from proper nutrition

Children need food in sufficient quantity and quality to grow healthy and to achieve their full potential. Unfortunately, here in Maxixe – in the southern province of Inhambane – many children do not get adequate nutrition. The problem is not so much the lack of sufficient food to eat (most fishing families here live on agriculture, which is mostly practiced for mere subsistence), as having food that can provide all the nutrients needed to grow up healthy.

The chronic lack of iron and vitamins causes physical and mental retarded development in children and makes them more vulnerable to disease.

Working at the school’s vegetable garden of Matadouro

It seems impossible, yet it is still happening. Here food is the cause of serious physical disorders, and children carry the scars.

Dona Sandra is 43, has eight children, including two sets of twins, and, like most mothers here, she spends her day taking care of her family. At dawn, she walks for kilometres to reach her land and cultivate those products that represent the main livelihood for her family, along with the little that she can buy at the market.
Dinners are not very varied: rice and beans, rice and meat, rice and fish, a few vegetables and fruit that grows in the wild.

Dona Sandra at the school vegetable garden of Malavane

Children's health depends on those who feed them.

Dona Sandra has enthusiastically agreed to participate in the activities: she attended the lectures held by the nutritionist, the practical demonstrations on the preparation of baby food and meals, the on-site agricultural training and now, twice a week, she tends with other mums the vegetable garden created for her children’s’ school in Malavane.
The meetings for women are delivering results: like Dona Sandra, many other women have shown that they have understood the importance of proper nutrition, especially for their children, and are striving to put into practice more efficient and sustainable farming techniques and more hygienic methods of food conservation and preparation.

At the moment, school vegetable gardens are enriching lunch-time meals; in the long run they will make the seeds of hope germinate.

The women attending the meetings are given seeds so they can use them to put into practice what they learned in the community vegetable garden in their own vegetable garden.
Dona Sandra used to throw her seeds haphazardly; now she knows she has to sow the seeds at a certain distance, without mixing them, and she also knows how important it is to rotate cultures cyclically and that there are other highly nutritious cultures suited to the soil. And she is also the best example for other mothers. These good practices will expand with a ripple effect and will benefit not only the 3000 schoolchildren we follow but other ones too, as well as the entire community.

  • My name is Joaquim Machado Macouo, I am 23 and I am the project's agricultural technician
Snack break among the desks of Barrane

Project’s overview

We work in 9 community nursery-schools of the Maxixe District with the aim of helping reduce the malnutrition rate among children aged 0-5.
We support a more varied, efficient and environmentally friendly agriculture through:

  • school and community vegetable gardens;
  • the introduction of native but little valued crops;
  • training on the most efficient techniques and on composting, to reduce the pollution associated with conventional techniques of organic waste disposal and the use of chemical fertilizers.

We promote healthy food consumption models among mothers and educators through:

  • information meetings on proper nutrition;
  • demonstrations on food preparation and on correct food storage techniques;
  • introduction of new foods to ensure a healthy and balanced diet.

We guarantee adequate health and hygiene services and access to drinking water through:

  • the construction of one well, also useful for watering the vegetable gardens;
  • the construction of 2 bathrooms and the refurbishment of 4 kitchens for canteen service in as many schools
  • Project Title
    Supporting quality nutrition: a project for the Maxixe District

    Project manager
    Federica Pulcini, mozambique@celim.it

    Dates
    October 2015 – October 2017

  • Partners
    Congregação Sagrada Famiglia of Maxixe

    Other bodies involved
    Municipality of Maxixe, Radio Progresso Maxixe, CeTAmb-Lab (Centre for environmental protection in developing countries)

Donors
  • 8x1000 IRPEF
  • Arcidiocesi di Milano
  • Fondo Beneficenza Intesa Sanpaolo