Lishe Bora Mtaani: Nourishing the Community March 27, 2013  by      

By: Erick Owenga, Kibera World Wide; Suzanne Thomson, Organizational Consultant, CFK Kenya; and Nick Johnson, CFK Communications Intern

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Sometimes we may take some of life’s simplest pleasures for granted, thinking of them as facts rather than privileges.  Things as simple as working and feeding ourselves become routine because we have the opportunity to do those things.  For a staggering number of Kiberan children, malnourishment and chronic hunger are instead the norm.

In 2012, the Tabitha Medical Clinic identified hundreds of cases of malnourishment in Kiberan children, which hinders healthy growth of educational, communicative, and social skills.  According to the World Bank, good nutrition is also “the first line of defense against numerous childhood diseases, which can leave their mark on a child for life.”  With limited resources, the body will always prioritize survival and neglect growth (Sagan and Druyan, World Bank). Given that nutrition is an essential element in the development and overall health in children under the age of five, the Carolina for Kibera team decided to create a nutrition initiative in the Kibera community.

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CFK launched its nutrition program this year and hit the ground running; the team is already working with over 200 children and their families in Kianda village, one of three areas where the CFK Health Department works.  Additionally, a new nutrition center will open this month!  It will be called “Lishe Bora Mtaani,” which can be loosely translated as “good nutrition for the community,” and will serve as a place where families can bring their children for assessments, supplemental nutrition services, and information on practical and affordable ways to augment nutrition in families.

Due to CFK’s long-term partnership with the community, families are excited about the nutrition program; they are eager to have more information, access to counseling services, and support on other health related issues that the new center will bring.  Several community members have spoken in favor of the center:

Esther (in the middle) during home visits with some mothers and their children who are yet to benefit from the nutrition program

“[The aim of my work is] to reduce the incidences of child mortality because of lack of information on simple food preparation, negligence on the importance of breast-feeding, and poverty experienced by the residents of Kibera.”

~Esther Opana, CFK nutritionist

“I am thanking CFK for coming up with such a noble idea of a nutrition support program and they should continue because many people are hard hit with many challenges, so if they educate and equip us I will appreciate.”

~Sarah, 23-year-old day-laborer and mother of four

Sarah also shared that three of her children are below five years of age.  She is understandably concerned with the welfare of her children and therefore very interested in the construction of the new nutrition center.   With proper nutrition, Sarah and others look forward to a future where their children will be healthy and able to pursue their studies and live more fulfilled lives.

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