A Feed the Future program in Kenya has teamed up with the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and the Ministry of Health to improve the nutrition of rural Kenyan farming families at a large scale.
Feed the Future’s flagship project in Kenya, managed by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is leveraging the resources of the two government ministries to disseminate key nutritional messages contained in the project’s Applied Basic Agri-Nutrition Resource Manual for Trainers, which is designed to transform dietary behavior and build the resilience of families who may face shocks such as drought or high food prices.
Under this tripartite development effort, extension officers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and community health workers from the Ministry of Health have been trained to roll out the manual and its associated toolkit to rural communities across Kenya. The training materials focus on behavior changes such as growing a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables in a kitchen garden; following a diet that includes the recommended proportions of different food types; and practicing proper food hygiene and sanitation.
This multi-sectoral approach is beginning to deliver impact at the national level. To date, the joint effort has equipped more than 4,000 county experts and trainers to deliver critical demonstrations on the links between agriculture and nutrition and best practices for people struggling to meet their families’ nutritional needs. In turn, these workers have reached more than 40,000 households with information that can reduce chronic disease and improve food preparation. The trainings include cooking demonstrations and guidance on how to establish and maintain a kitchen garden.
After receiving the agri-nutrition training, Rasoha Vidolo started a kitchen garden to feed her family of ten. “I used to go to the shop every day to buy vegetables for Kshs 100 [$1.20],” she says. “Now if I go to the shop, it is to buy meat or fish for my family using the money I earn selling vegetables from my garden. The training has changed our lives.”