TRANSFORM contributes to sustainable agricultural transformation in Dowa


By Vincent Gunde

TRANSFORM Nutrition, an agricultural project being implemented by a consortium-Norwegian Diversity, Norwegian Church and the Development Fund, says the project has improved knowledge on nutrition and care practices in Dowa district.

The project has established and revamp nutrition care groups, training cluster leaders and promoters on nutrition and care practices and providing working materials to promoters such as bicycles as a key achievement.

Briefing the District executive Committee in Dowa, Dowa District Council’s Principal Nutrition, HIV and AIDS Noel Chikumbu, said TRANSFORM Nutrition has a project goal of contributing to sustainable agricultural transformation that will result in improved incomes, food and nutrition security among smallholder farmers in Malawi.

Chikumbu said the overall objective of the project is to strengthen local food systems and sustainable improvement of food and nutrition security, income and resilience to climate change among 35,000 agriculture dependent rural households within selected EPAs in Dowa district by 2025.

He said the project has targeted vulnerable groups such as households with pregnant women, Under-Five children and lactating mothers saying at least 60 percent of households in the district are eating 3 meals per day and 95 percent of households have access to clean and safe water.

The officer said TRANSFORM Project has trained households in food budgeting and seasonal availability calendar, facilitating trainings in integrated homestead farming and training in preservation and food safety.

“The project has increased access to nutrient dense foods, trained 120 Lead Farmers, Promoters and VAT in nutrition and care practices and 600 follower farmers trained in food budgeting and meal planning,” said Chikumbu.

He said the project has increased consumption of safe, nutritious and diverse food saying 8,652 households have backyard gardens and fruit trees to promote the consumption of readily available nutritious vegetables and 4,184 fruit trees (mangoes and oranges) procured and distributed to 836 households.

Chikumbu said beside the project registering success stories in the district, it is meeting challenges such as behavior change interventions which taking time and inadequate Nutrition Frontline workers at the community level.

He said going forward, the project is developing a seasonal availability calendar, food processing and preservation, food hygiene and safety and conducting an assessment on household dietary practices using a dietary diversity scorecard which will give an overall picture in consumption of diverse foods at household level in the district.

The officer said the project will identify and train male nutrition champions to enhance gender integration in food and nutrition issues and continued support on job capacity building of extension workers at community level and nutrition related structures.

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