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Plant Seeds for a Healthy Future

Item # 36815

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Help feed a Rwandan family.

The world is facing an acute food and nutrition crisis. Malnutrition is responsible for the deaths of more than 3.5 million children globally each year, and it is a contributing factor in more than 1/3 of all deaths among children under five. Even when children survive, chronic malnutrition can disrupt mental and physical development, often with permanent consequences. Malnourished children are less likely to attend school, and when they do, they are less likely to succeed. Studies suggest that, in the future, these children are likely to earn less than their peers and will die earlier.

Gardens for Health International (GHI) works to make growing and eating food a part of the clinical treatment of malnutrition. They work with the primary caregivers of children diagnosed with malnutrition, to design and plant home gardens that provide both dietary diversity and crop biodiversity—improving not only the health of families but also the health of the land they farm. They are also providing agricultural training with small animals to teach the families about livestock.

At the same time, they understand that seeds alone cannot resolve the complex and inter-related issues that contribute to the high prevalence of malnutrition. Their health curriculum, which is developed and delivered by members of the communities they work in, is designed to address topics (such as hygiene, family planning and mental health) that make it harder for families to feed their children.

You can help. Just $25 covers half the costs for one family to receive seeds, tree seedlings and small livestock. Help give families a sustainable solution to hunger!


GHI

Update from the Field
May 2016

Gardens for Health International (GHI) continues to provide long-term agricultural solutions to chronic malnutrition. Alphonsine Uwamaliya's story is a perfect example of how this program can help break the cycle of malnutrition. Alphonsine lives in Dashiki, Musanze, Rwanda with her husband and two children, Gabriel and Natalie. A GHI program graduate, Alphonsine maintains a home vegetable garden and also supplies a local high school with leafy greens for student lunches. Through this enterprise, Alphonsine earns about $6 USD each week in supplementary income in rainy season, and $1.25 USD in additional revenue during dry season. Using an average program partner weekly income of $2.50 USD per week, this means that during peak season, Alphonsine's garden doubles the amount of income available to her family. Alphonsine and her husband leverage this profit to save for land and livestock purchases and to meet household needs such as health insurance and clothing.

Using the funds received at the last payout, Alphonsine received 60,000 RWF ($75 USD), which purchased:

  • 2 chickens
  • 46g amarynth
  • 46g nightshade
  • 11.5 kg iron-fortified beans
  • 230g carrots
  • 92g radishes
  • 138g eggplant
  • 230g onions
  • 115g green pepper

Alphonsine does not self-identify as a businesswomen or entrepreneur. Rather, she testifys to the health of their families and the well-being of their communities. Alphonsine distributes livestock offspring to neighbors and trains others in animal husbandry. She supplies vegetables to local markets in which nutrient-dense foods are often scarce. Alphonsine reflects GHI's mission at the household level and echoes belief within the agency of farmers and communities themselves in eliminating malnutrition in Rwanda.

Eve Deveau, US Managing Director
Gardens for Health International


Gardens for Health International works to provide agricultural solutions to chronic childhood malnutrition by:

‐Partnering with Rwandan health centers to integrate agricultural support and health education into the clinical treatment of malnutrition.

‐Advocating for policies and programs that include agriculture in the treatment of malnutrition.

‐Providing technical assistance to regional partners who wish to adapt our model to their own communities.


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