Parents’ limited knowledge on childcare, nutrition, health and other parenting practices contributes significantly to the negative health outcomes for their children. A self-commitment to make a difference pays off as it is the case for Niyonagira Alice, 41, a mother living in Nyamizi village in Nyanza district whose child rose from malnutrition caused by his limited nutrition-related knowledge.
Born with average weight, 2.8kg, Alice’s son, Irasubiza faced deprivation of basic infant needs including frequent breastfeeding, proper hygiene caused by his mother’s insufficient knowledge on newborn care. A day after day, Irasubiza’s life became worse, and he felt sick. His mother, instead of taking the son to the hospital, she preferred using traditional medicine to cure him, as Alice thought the son was contaminated and his weight shrank. All this, coupled with poverty, Alice could hardly afford a balanced meal as a lactating woman.
Few months after, as the situation get awful, Alice was visited by the Gikuriro Kuri Bose trained Community Health Worker (CHW), who screened Irasubiza and found that he was malnourished. They took time to discuss the mother’s responsibility towards the child and Alice was advised to join the Gikuriro Kuri Bose’s Village Nutrition School (VNS), for her son to undergo 12 days of rehabilitation. From that time, Alice committed to reverse the situation, take responsibility to ensure the change in her family situation.
Through the Gikuriro Kuri Bose support, Alice started attending the VNS and after 12 days of rehabilitation sessions, her son graduated from malnutrition and became healthy, and his weight increased. Alice was enrolled into a Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) group, where he started saving money to access small loans to meet families’ nutritional needs. Committed to change for better, Alice invited other VNS group members to help her set up a kitchen garden at her home.
At her kitchen garden, she grows vegetables and fruits. Through the Gikuriro Kuri Bose ongoing support, Alice benefited from the training on Village Nutrition School and on Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN). The community elected her as a model parent (parent Lumiere) as she demonstrated a strong will to fighting malnutrition and mobilizing others to attend Antenatal Care and Growth Monitoring and Promotion Sessions.
In her daily activities, she finds time to share knowledge on nutrition with others and invite them at her home for cooking demonstration sessions. “I want to stay committed to improving more the life of my son, and make sure he doesn’t fall into malnutrition again” Alice said. “I will keep mobilizing others to change their behaviors and ensure our village is free from malnutrition” she added.
The Gikuriro Kuri Bose worked to empower two model parents per village (parent Lumiere) who are supporting villages and guiding parents in rehabilitation session of malnourished children and actively engage parents in nutrition taking a lead and be agent of change for their children’s health and nutrition.