According to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) at least 14.5 million Nigerians were facing acute food insecurity, which was attributed to persisting insecurity and the overbearing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, (NDHS) indicates that Nigeria has 35 million children under the age of five, with 14 million of them being stunted, while 3 million are wasted and 24 million are anaemic due to poor nutrition.
45 percent of deaths in children under the age of five was also said to be attributable to malnutrition.
Worried by the development and seeking innovative means to reverse the trend, the International Institute of Media in Public Health, (ISMPH) through support from the European Union Agent for Citizen-driven Transformation, (EU-ACT), has been working with select communities around the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) to educate women on how to make healthy meals from affordable food items and keep their children healthy and protected from the negative impacts of malnutrition.
The ISMPH/EU-ACT project was in Kwali to educate women on not just healthy cooking but also, production of Charcoal Briquettes and Organic Fertilizer.
Recall that Vision FM had reported about a similar activity in Barangoni, a community in Bwari Area Council of the FCT where thirty women had been trained on production of Charcoal Briquettes and Organic Fertilizer.
The Executive Director, International Society of Media in Public Health, (ISMP), Moji Makanjuola believes that an empowered, knowledgeable and informed woman has the required prerequisites to birth healthy children that will serve as agents of development in Nigeria.
Makanjuola expresses optimism that the initiative of training and empowering women would be adopted across the country to boost the number of women who can effectively cater for the nutritional needs of their families, also explaining that arming women with vital information and economic power are important steps to fighting malnutrition.
“This training I would say that it is multi-purpose because we are not only teaching them how to make money but we are also teaching them some things that mothers should know and also encouraging the fact that we have some of these foods that they can give their children that are affordable.
“With their little money that we hope that they could make from this, they themselves will be able to feed the children well and we would have healthy Nigerian children who are the leaders, I don’t say of tomorrow, but of today.
“An empowered woman, a knowledgeable woman, an informed woman will be able to have healthy children who are the soldiers for development to help grow Nigeria to compete effectively in the committee of nations.”
The Esu of Kwali Dr. Shaban Nizazzo expressed excitement to have the training in his community, given the promising opportunities it offers at both reducing poverty and malnutrition related diseases.
Dr. Nizazzo said he was hopeful that at the end of the training, the situation of his subjects will see much improvement from what it currently is.
“When she came with her team we thought yes, I think the person whom we actually need has finally come and then we opened ourselves to her and then allowed her to do this programme for us.
“And therefore, we are feeling that at the end of the programme the situation of our people will not be the same, it will be improved, they will have a good direction and they will have a good purpose of life for themselves.
“And therefore, we feel elevated that this programme has come and we are hoping and also thinking that more and more NGOs like that should come to us.”
Kwali is one of the two Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory – FCT – benefiting from the ISMPH, EU-ACT project.