Rural women: Driving force against malnutrition in FCT, says ISMPH
NNN: The International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH), has said that rural women form the backbone of rural societies following the vital role they play as farmers, farm workers, entrepreneurs, caregivers and community leaders.
The Executive Director of ISMPH, Mrs Moji Makanjuola, said this on Tuesday, at a three-day skills acquisition programme in Barangoni -Yiku Village in Bwari Area Council, FCT.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that European Union Agent for Citizen-driven Transformation (EU-ACT) sponsored the ISMPH to train 30 vulnerable women against malnutrition in FCT, Abuja communities.
According to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) data, an estimated 2 million children in Nigeria are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
The data also revealed that only about 2 per cent of the children have access to treatment.
Nutrition experts have also identified micronutrient powders as useful supplements to fortify foods where micronutrients are insufficient to promote optimal growth in children or pregnant women.
Makanjuola, who was represented by the Programme Director of ISMPH, Mr Solomon Dogo, said that women make crucial contributions to food production, food processing and marketing in any society.
“Indeed, because women produce, process and prepare much of the food available, they are critical to the food security of their families and their communities,” she explained.
She said that rural women’s skills and energy permeate all parts of the food system, and are key to fostering sustainable agriculture diversification, promoting bio-fortification, reducing food loss and waste, and supporting food processing for improved nutrition as well as food safety in any society.
The Executive Director said that the skills acquisition programme is empowering 30 vulnerable women whose children are malnourished with life-saving skills as this would help equip them to fend for their children and themselves.
She stressed that the project is sponsored by European Union ACT (EU-ACT) to give succour to vulnerable women through life-saving skills.
“The project is to see how we can curb malnutrition in FCT by training and empowering women on how to produce organic fertilizers and other products so that they can have a means of livelihood. This is because we have noticed that one of the problems causing malnutrition is poverty.
“Most of them do not have the means to solve or to take care of their children’s nutritional needs. So, we decided that we were going to train the poorest of the poorest women whose children are malnourished, so that they can have life-saving skills.
“This is the first phase of training for 30 vulnerable women. You know, after this, we hope that the women through the community leaders will continue to train and retrain others on these particular skills.
“And then subsequently, we hope that we’ll have more women through the community because we want to have the community on this particular initiative, as it is owned by the community.
“The village head and the chairman of the area council are also involved. We have met with all of them and all of them are providing support to ensure their sustainability for this project.
“We are going to provide them with a machine that will be used to produce these organic fertilizers. After training they will use the machine to practice as they’ve been trained. The machine will be left with them and that is what they will be using to produce these items.
“Arrangements are also on to provide buyers of the products immediately they produce. So it depends on the women and the number of products they’ve done.
“We have people that will continue to buy these products from them. And then like I said, we’ll also want you to know that we will also avail them the opportunity to market these products on radio and TV stations so that people will know that such things are available and can go directly to buy from the women,” she said.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Vera Manase, who is the Deputy Women Leader of Barangoni, said the training would help the women in no small measure to alleviate their poverty.
Manase said they are predominantly farmers, but their lands were no longer fertile “but with this training on organic fertilizer, we will use new skills to boost our farm produce. We hope to have a bumper harvest next year.”
Another beneficiary, Mrs Joy Yeni, said she could not breastfeed due to a complication in her breast and added that her child was malnourished due to a lack of alternatives to breast milk.
Yeni, however, expressed optimism that at the end of the training, the solution would come to alleviate her suffering and would be able to feed her child properly. .
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