UGANDA – The first 1000 days of a child’s life are critical to their entire future. Properly nourished, a child can, in their first 1000 days, build a foundation for life that will protect them from physical and intellectual challenges as well as crippling disease and insufficient growth.
In July of this year, World Renew and our local Ugandan partner, the Pentecostal Assemblies of God, began a four-year project seeking to address the primary causes of stunting among children here, with a focus on the first 1000 days of a child. The project targets children below 24 months, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. By walking with mothers as they care for their precious children, World Renew can provide critical education and support that will make lifelong investments in children’s health and development here.
Ainomugisha Sharon, a 32-year-old breastfeeding mother, participates in the project. A resident of Rugarama village in the district of Kabale, she says that her eyes have been opened.
“Initially,” says Sharon, “I used to prepare food for the whole family, not minding about a balanced diet and especially the food for the child. As long as sweet potatoes or Irish potatoes were available, I would not mind about other foods that contain other nutrients. I prepared katoogo (a mixture of beans and Irish or sweet potatoes) and little did I know that a baby’s food is measured.
Occasionally, I would add cabbage if it was the season of cabbages. I used to give my baby cold foods like sweet potatoes, especially when she cried. When I was invited to the project’s kitchen demonstration, I learned ways to prepare meat and other uncommon foodstuffs for babies and the entire family. I was surprised to see that most of the foods demonstrated were locally available foods but with all the nutrients a child needs.
After the demonstration, I practiced what I had learned and now my attitude has changed. I appreciate the project for the services rendered to my village and I encourage others, especially pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, to participate actively in this project. I am hoping for good results for my baby.”
Monitoring and Evaluation Manager
World Renew Uganda