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Over 31.806 farmers benefit from the nutrition program implemented by world vision

Over 31.806 farmers benefit from the nutrition program implemented by world vision

Photo Tatoli/Jose De Sa

DILI, december 9, 2022 (TATOLI)– Over 31,806 farmers and their family members in four municipalities have become beneficiaries of a Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture project implemented by World Vision.Over 31,806 farmers in four municipalities have become beneficiaries of the Sensivel Agriculture and Nutrition program, implemented by World Vision.

The Maternal, Child Health, and Nutrition Technical Specialist Evangelita da Costa Pereira said that WVTL started implementing the project in 2017, which aims at improving the health and nutrition of children under 5 years old and their mothers. This project is an integration of health, nutrition, agriculture, livelihood, gender, child protection, and disability, and interventions are aimed at tackling some of the complex root causes of malnutrition.

WV works closely with the health volunteers namely Promotor Saúde Familiar (PSF) to deliver health and nutrition sessions, and help parents understand the importance of the first 1,000 days of their children’s life. In agriculture, WV works with farmer groups to grow nutritious foods that can grow well, which not only the families can consume but also can be sold for income.

“This program aims to answer the main causes of malnutrition, which can reduce the problem of malnutrition including anemia, stunting, and wasting, so since the implementation of this program 31,806 have become beneficiaries of this program” Evangelista da costa Pereira told TATOLI, at the World Vision office, Bidau Lesidere, this Friday.

Perreira explained that World Vision provides superfoods consisting of nutritious foods that can be related to agriculture so that they are easy to grow on farms.

“This program prioritizes six types of nutritious foods, that WV brands as “superfoods” such as red kidney beans, soybeans, mungbeans, orange sweet potatoes, and eggs. The reasons why WV specifically focus on promoting these six nutritious foods are because these foods can easily grow in Timor Leste, they are highly nutritious, yet due to lack of knowledge and production, these foods are under-utilized”, she explained. Through these interventions, the availability and accessibility of nutritious foods all year round are improved.

According to Pereira, there have been positive changes observed after the interventions, including improved knowledge and practices among parents on health and nutrition, which is reflected in the increased percentage of children aged 6-59 months consuming the superfoods, from 14% at baseline in 2017 to 59% at end line survey in 2022. There is also an increase in the percentage of children in the same age group meeting satisfying minimum dietary diversity from 13% at baseline to 55% at the endline survey.

Despite the improvements, Pereira also said that challenges they are facing during the implementation of this program include the traditional beliefs around food taboos that the families continue to practice. “In some areas, certain nutritious foods, such as moringa leaves and red kidney beans, are considered taboo and should not be consumed. Another challenge is limited access to potable water in some areas, making it difficult for the farmers to grow the superfoods during the dry season. In addition, limited access to clean water means proper hygiene practices are not optimal.

This nutrition program has been implemented in four municipalities such as Aileu, Bobonaro, Baucau, and Covalima.

Funded by the Australian government (DEFAT program), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and the New Zealand Embassy.

 

Journalist: José Belarmino De Sá

Editor: Nelia B.

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