FIGHTING CHILD HUNGER
Communities United in Fighting Child Hunger project aimed at fighting hunger and ensuring better nutrition for children in Northern Ghana. The project was implemented by CLIP, GDCA and our partner, Ghana Friends.
Hunger is a real problem for the people in the north and very poor part of Ghana. In the villages, almost everyone lives by subsistence agriculture, and in times of drought, there is simply not enough food. In the periods when there is enough food, all too many children suffer from what can be called the hidden hunger. They might have eaten, but their diet is too one-sided and does not contain the proteins, vitamins and minerals they need. The result is that more than one out of three child's growth is retarded, making learning more difficult, and thus reduces their prospects for a bright future.
The goal was to mobilize a number of villages in the fight for better nutrition for children, and cooperate with schools and other relevant authorities to spread knowledge about the importance of diet for children's overall development and growth.
The project has targeted 720 households in 23 communities, and has carried out community-based activities in 55 communities in 5 districts. The activities included training and awareness raising in nutrition and use of locally available crops. An evaluation carried out at the end of the project showed the following results:
NUTRITION AND ACCESS TO FOOD
Now 61% of the households have access to sufficient food all year round. This is an improvement of 32 percentage points.
And no households say that they never have sufficient food. This was the case for 10% in 2017.
The children eat more meals per day. Most children eat 3 meals per day, and now 32% eat 4 meals per day, against 8% in 2017. Now 11% eat only 2 daily meals (down from 23%).
The women say their children are sick less often because they now give them more nutritious food. The money they used to spend on health bills they now use for their food.
a. Women has improved crop production through farmer field schools
b. They have learnt better ways of preserving food through storage and processing
c. They have learnt about using locally available foodstuffs
d. Two thirds of the women have improved access to food.
Men play an important role in decisions about food in the household; and they were involved in the project in various ways. This has resulted in a change in men’s understanding and attitudes in relation to child nutrition; and they understand that they also have a role to play.
All interviewed children now see a connection between what they eat and their growth and development. 98% of them know that they have a right to eat good quality food.
The women know more about the importance of children getting good nutrition; and more women perceive a connection between what children eat and their growth, development and health.
The women know it is the right of their children to eat food from the various food classes such as vegetables, meat, fish, fruits, eggs, beans and milk. They understand principles of good nutrition.
The women use their knowledge to make more nutritious food, using locally available foodstuffs. They all process moringa for household meals, 92% process soya beans, 87% baobab, 53% balanite, 50% sesame.
INCREASED RESILIENCE FOR WOMEN
Women now have more opportunities to diversify their sources of income. Farming is still important, but processing of crops and trading have increased. 45% process soya beans for sale. Many also process baobab, moringa, and sesame to produce foodstuffs for sale.
The women use savings and loans more actively, both for domestic needs and economic activities. More women spend their savings and loans from VSLAs on farming (95%), trading (71%) and starting or expanding business (45%).
The women assess that their household income has increased in real terms. No households were earning above 400 cedes in 2017, now it is 11%. Households earning less than 100 cedis/month has reduced from 58 to 37%.
The VSLA is an important safety net for more women. 92% take loans from the VSLA in times of need so they don’t have to sell crops or animals when they need money.