A story of food security and nutrition gardens

Panelists in the side event: "Focus on nutrition, market and gender"

This week, the 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week takes place in Kigali. It features many side events. One of them focused on nutrition, market and gender.

In this session, there were panelists from the Rwandan Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC), Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB), USAID/RWANDA, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the European Union (EU).

They all focused on a synthesis study of nutrition, market and gender analysis in Africa, and specifically in Rwanda. The synthesis pointed out multiple aspects of stunting in children younger than 24 months in Rwandan low income households. It showed the clear link between stunting in these children, and women empowerment in agriculture.

“Overall, it is clear that no single sector can address malnutrition alone.” RAB said. During the discussion Mr. Arnaud DE VANSSAY, representing the European Union at the side event, showcased an EU funded project in Rwanda. This €30 million project implemented “nutrition gardens” in more than 80% of Rwandan schools. The project showed a high engagement of students, who learned how they can vary their foods, and how to apply these lessons in their families.

Now, the project is making “a nutrition garden guide” which will soon be printed and distributed in all Rwandan schools. It will help in a better integration of the school gardens into the academic curriculum.

Once Rwanda has implemented this first project, the EU is going to fund a new project, worth €200 Million, linking agriculture and nutrition.

This project will emphasize agriculture and job creation. It will engage youth and women in agriculture. Currently they are working with a Rwandan expert to identify the target groups.

This example shows how different entities can work together, on the different aspects of the nutrition challenge: education, awareness, knowledge, attitudes and practices,.. These can address the nutrition challenges, agricultural productivity and gender empowerment in Africa.

Blogpost and picture by Germaine Kayisire, kayiger1(at)gmail.com, #AASW7 social reporter.
This post represents the author’s views only.

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