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Stories from the Field

Irene Supports Her Child’s Nutritional Needs in Tanzania

By Hannah Payne on October 27, 2022

In a small village in Tanzania’s Iringa region, 21-year-old Irene sustains herself through a small business frying maize and bagia (chickpea vegetable fritters) and helping on her family’s farm. 

However, her village has faced malnutrition for decades, leading to health and cognitive issues for both children and adults. And the pandemic caused more challenges for Irene and the community. Irene shared that, during the pandemic, preparing meals with a variety of ingredients was challenging. Some of the ingredients were seasonal, which made them more difficult to obtain and, even when available, proper processing to get flour was time-consuming and unsafe. In addition, many people stopped working for fear of getting sick. Production and profit for small businesses, including Irene’s, decreased. 

While facing these financial challenges, Irene was also pregnant in late 2021 with her second child, after losing her first. She joined our partner Global Volunteers’ Reaching Children’s Potential program in August 2021 to address the health and nutritional needs of her and her second child. 

The Reaching Children’s Potential program focuses on a child’s first 1,000 days of life, and Rise Against Hunger supports this program through food assistance. As part of the program, Irene and the other participants receive nutritious food, which has been procured locally through financial support from Rise Against Hunger, and attend educational workshops about nutrition. 

The food assistance has provided Irene’s families and the community with access to a variety of nutritious ingredients. Nelson, a personal friend of Irene, said, “Food has become easy to obtain throughout the month… they don’t ever go without food.” Amilia, a Global Volunteers caregiver, added that the food has impacted mothers throughout the community, saying the food has been “a lifesaver for mothers as it allows them not to stress so much about food, especially when money tends to be a problem.”  

The nutrition and health workshops have also contributed to the adoption of many healthy habits. Irene noted that the participating women pay closer attention to handwashing and the nutritional needs of their children. 

For Irene, supporting her baby’s health starts with a meal. The food assistance and training from the Reaching Children’s Potential program are helping Irene support herself and her baby — and also helping her prepare for their future. Amilia said, “[Irene is] so eager to learn new things that will enable her to become a better mother for [her] child and that of her community.” 

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