Uganda: Cooking together, preventing malnutrition
Berlin / Kampala, 14 Januar 2020
The Palabek refugee camp in northern Uganda is home to 40,000 refugees from southern Sudan. They are not able to provide for themselves because they do not have enough land to grow food. They are therefore dependent on food rations from the World Food Programme. The rations are often insufficient and too one-sided to ensure a balanced diet for the optimal development of small children. As a result, many infants are affected by chronic malnutrition. To counteract this in the long term, Johanniter, in cooperation with the local partner organisation Pachedo, has set up mother-child groups that regularly cook together and receive training on good and balanced nutrition.
Regina Akello Amon is 56 years old. After she had to flee from Southern Sudan in July 2017, she now lives in Palabek. After her escape, she was given a plot of land by the Ugandan government. Among the women in her settlement she is a well-known figure of respect. She translates for women who do not speak English or the local language Acholi and defends their interests towards humanitarian organisations working in the settlement.
For this purpose she meets regularly with other mothers and their children. During the meetings they cook together menus specially developed to ensure a balanced and nutritious diet for the toddlers. At the same time, they receive training on nutritional groups, the right amounts of food and careful preparation. Many of the ingredients are steamed instead of cooked to ensure that important vitamins are not lost. During the meetings the mothers have the opportunity to share good nutritional practices and learn from each other. Good hygiene practices such as regular hand washing are also discussed. Very important steps for Regina: "I hope that better health and nutrition will bring a better future for the children in the settlement".