European Union-funded Afikepo nutrition sensitive agriculture project has been being implemented in Malawi to increase and diversify dietary intake of safe and nutritious foods, and achieve optimal nutrition for women of child bearing age, adolescent girls, infants and young children
On the outskirts of Mzuzu city in Malawi, in the small village of Chikoya lives Tael Vumu. He is a cluster leader under Titemwane care group, a volunteer who facilitates sharing and dissemination of nutrition information to improve household nutrition within his community. He leads by example, ensuring that his own household is exemplary and can inspire others to adopt nutrition sensitive agriculture and good hygiene practices in their own homes.
He added, “Through the care group meetings, we learn and remind each other of the importance of consuming the six food groups and diversified agricultural production. We were used to rearing chickens but not rabbits. After we were provided with rabbits, we realised rabbits reproduce faster than chickens. We also grow yellow maize, soya beans, fortified kidney beans, and other nutrient dense crops,” he said while speaking about the care group lessons.
Tael added Afikepo has brought improvements to hygiene and subsequently the health of his family. These include the construction and use of drying racks for kitchen utensils and good toilets.
His wife Mary Phiri said the introduction of energy saving stoves through Afikepo, which use less firewood, helps save time and helps maintain trees in neighbouring woodlots.
With support from the project, Titemwane care group constructed a rabbit coop in February 2020 and received an initial five rabbits. These have bred and a rabbit pass-on initiative is helping the care group members and households with pregnant and breastfeeding women or with children under the age of five, keep rabbits so that they have increased access to animal source protein.