The Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) has called for concerted effort in fighting the high stunting levels among children in Lunte district.
SNV Programme Manager for Scaling Up Sustainable Nutrition for All Project, Tendai Gunda, said her organisation wants to ensure that people, especially women and children, have access to a variety of food stuffs in order to improve their nutrition status.
Ms. Gunda noted that a number of women and children in the country lack irons, proteins and vitamin A, adding that there is need to grow crops that are rich in these nutrients so that people can have access to them.
“Many women and girls are lacking iron. That is why SNV came (to Lunte) and introduced Mbereshi breams which is rich in iron and zinc. The other nutrients which is of public health concern is the vitamin A, the one you see in bright green and coloured vegetables that is why carrot becomes important,” she said.
She explained that all households should therefore be encouraged to have a garden where they can have access to these important nutrients that will make children grow healthy.
Ms. Gunda added that SNV is however happy that people have started implementating the idea of coming up with backyard gardens and growing diversified foods.
“We are happy to say that we have begun to see some action taking place even at household level. Some mothers have started establishing some gardens that are diversified and this is good because at the end of the day, what is diversified in the garden will translate into a diversified food on the table and which will translate into a healthy child,” She said.
She has since pledged that SNV will continue working with the government in order to help reduce stunting by improving dietary diversity for the people in the area.
Ms. Gunda said this when she led SNV Country Director and members of the Lunte District Nutrition Coordinating Committee (DNCC) to some projects check on the impact of the programme.
And Lunte DNCC chairperson, Vincent Phiri has expressed happiness that the levels of stunting, which stand at 42 percent in Lunte, will greatly reduce in the district due to the various interventions that have been put in place.
Mr. Phiri, who is also Lunte District Administrative Officer, said working with SNV, his committee has since distributed chickens and other agricultural items to various communities to enable the people start accessing diversified foods.
“So far we have distributed more than 1,000 improved breed of chickens and we have also distributed different varieties of vegetable seeds, maize and fertilizers to targeted groups of expectant mothers and those with children below the age of two years,” he said.
He has meanwhile encouraged the community to continue giving their children a balanced diet.
He explained that the type of food a child is given has a great influence on their performance at school.
Earlier, both Lunte District Commissioner Ronald Mulenga and chief Shibwalya Kapila appealed to SNV to consider extending the project, which is coming to an end in September this year.
SNV is currently implementing the Scaling Up Sustainable Nutrition for All Project, which is supported by the UK-AID.