Project Summary

House of Grace has settled in Bukoba, Tanzania with the aspiration to improve nutrition and education of women and children.

The House of Grace Nutrition and Agriculture Initiative was based in Bukoba and Kemondo, Tanzania during the summer of 2014. The project focused on providing nutrition and agricultural education with resources to improve food availability through home gardens. The aim of this project was to improve the overall health of women and children in the community.

The project began with an extensive questionnaire to investigate:

  1. Current feeding practices in the area,
  2. The extent of knowledge regarding basic nutrition, and
  3. Attitudes towards these practices, including perceived benefits and perceived barriers.

The project ensued with a 3-day seminar in both Bukoba and Kemondo, facilitated by a local pediatric nurse. The seminars focused on basic nutrition and how to improve nutrition through home gardening. The seminars included cooking demonstrations as well as agriculture demonstrations and were performed in a participatory, group discussion based format led by a local community leaders. Participants were also offered the opportunity to build large community gardens as an additional opportunity to gain experience developing gardens, and to provide an avenue to generate income through sale of excess crops.

House of Grace believes this project will be sustainable and will continue to benefit families for years to come as a result of:

  1. Offering resources and instructions to build  and maintain gardens,
  2. Providing education on how to most effectively utilize harvests to improve nutrition and create balanced meals,
  3. Articulating expectations,
  4. Fostering incentives for personal investment in the project,
  5. Ensuring measures for accountability and 6) Using strong community-based leadership.

This project impacted 76 children ranging in age from 7 months to 22 years, of which 20 children’s school fees are currently sponsored by House of Grace. This project was performed in tandem with the school sponsorship to focus on improving educational outcomes through improved nutrition and overall health. This project was implemented as a pilot project with 17 families. These families will continue to be monitored and helped, and the project will continue in a modified version from what we have learned this summer.

 

Timeline

The project spanned the course of 5 weeks between June 10th, 2014 and July 14th, 2014.

June 2014

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
8 9
Build Bukoba Community Garden #1
10
Build Bukoba Community Garden #2
11
Bukoba Questionnaires
2 families
12
Bukoba Questionnaires
3 families
13
Bukoba Questionnaires
3 families
14
15 16
Build Kemondo Community Garden
17
Kemondo Questionnaires
2 families
18
Kemondo Questionnaires
3 families
19
Kemondo Questionnaires
4 families
20 21
22
Families prepare home gardens
23
Families prepare home gardens
24
Families prepare home gardens
25
Families prepare home gardens
26
Families prepare home gardens
27
Families prepare home gardens
28
Families prepare home gardens
29 30
Bukoba Seminar Day 1

July 2014

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1
Bukoba Seminar Day 2
2
Bukoba Seminar Day 3
3 4
Bukoba Gardens Follow-Ups
5
6 7
Kemondo Seminar Day 1
8
Kemondo
Seminar Day 2
9
Kemondo Seminar Day 3
10
Kemondo
Gardens Follow-
Ups
11
Bukoba Gardens Follow-Ups
12
13 14
Bukoba Gardens
Follow-Ups

 

Results

Questionnaire Data:

A complete report of the project data is available upon request.

Main findings included that:

  1. 29.4% of caregivers reported feeding additional foods to children before the WHO’s recommended age of 6 months, and 35.3% did not know the correct age for exclusive breastfeeding. 40% of caregivers incorrectly answered the age to begin feeding complementary foods to infants.
  2. 100% of the children in our sample ages 6-23 months were eating less than 3 meals per day; 62.5% of children 2+ years not yet in school were eating less than 3 meals per day; and 29.4% of school-aged children were eating less than 3 meals per day.
  3. 41.2% of caregivers reported that exclusive breastfeeding during the child’s first 6 months of life and continued breastfeeding for the first 2 years of life was “Difficult”. 85.7% of women reported that they were not able to produce enough breastmilk.
  4. 64.7% of caregivers indicated that it was “Difficult” to serve different types of food to their children each day. Of the reasons it was difficult to serve different types of foods, 53% were a lack of money, 38.5% were due to a lack of food availability, and 7.7% were because of a lack of knowledge about which foods to serve.
  5. 70.6% of caregivers indicated that it is “Difficult” to give their children breakfast before school. 35.7% of the reasons for this difficulty were due to a lack of food, 28.6% due to a lack of money, 28.6% due to a lack of sugar, and 7.1% due to a “Difficult life”.

Overview of Gardens: 

  1. 1st BUKOBA COMMUNITY GARDEN
  2. 2nd BUKOBA COMMUNITY GARDEN
  3. Caregiver: Anna Grace & Student: Editha Josephat
  4. Caregiver: Loyce Kokubelwa & Student: Yoshua Justus
  5. Caregiver: Mastidia Fidelis & Student: Julieth Mtajwa
  6. Caregiver: Evelyna Kokushy & Student: Thobias Christani 
  7. Caregiver: Stella Emanweli & Student: Alistidia Mariko
  8. Caregiver: Pastor Joas & Getrude Mussawe; Students: Eva Simons and Neema Kazimill
  9. KEMONDO COMMUNITY GARDEN
  10. Caregiver: Mackrina Theonest & Student: Godfrey January 
  11. Caregiver: Severena Matthew & Student: Naomi Matthew
  12. Caregiver: Numani (Hawa Issa) & Student: Rabial L. Numani
  13. Caregiver: Adventina Stephano; Student(s): Jovinatha and Sara Stephano
  14. Caregiver(s): Ludovick and Merida Vendati; Student(s): Dorotheak Ludovick and Ludovick Adams 
  15. Caregiver: Twaida Jaffari & Student: Yusufu Suidick
  16. Caregiver: Safurah Rashid & Student: Salami R. Nashiru
  17. Caregiver: Irida Santus; Student: Evona Clavery
  18. Caregiver: Alfredina Alisildies & Student: Separais Alisidies

Personal Experience

“Working with this project was amongst the most inspiring and educational experiences I have had the opportunity to engage in. Developmental aid is often criticized for its inability to create sustainable changes as well as for its imposition on the local community. In developing this project, our primary focus was on sustainability and community need. Working with community members who played main leadership roles in the facilitation of this project was invigorating and encouraging. I saw such passion from these community leaders, and much of the project’s success was due to their dedication and input. Because of this rich community investment, I am confident this project will continue to flourish after its initial stages. I watched as caregivers were equipped with the resources and knowledge to improve the nutritional status of their families, and I also observed the gratitude and investment of the participants. So many caregivers expressed how important the seminars were to them. I look forward to tracking the progress of these families throughout the year through our community contacts to continue monitoring the progress and utilization of the home gardens. House of Grace is committed to continual improvement, and we have learned so much during this first project; we look forward to implementing developments in future projects and the benefits those will give. I consider myself fortunate to have been involved in such a passion driven, community based organization and to have worked with such engaged participants who embraced our project with vigor.”

 

Participant Reviews

 

“All these years we have been poor because we lack this knowledge, if we have known this years ago, we could have been rich”
– Participant, Bukoba TZ

 

“The government tells us ‘Women, we can’, but they don’t tell us how. Now we know how”
– Participant, Bukoba TZ

 

“I know have a garden at home, but  what I am learning here is even more valuable than the garden. I feel like my eyes have been opened. God is good”
– Participant, Bukoba TZ

 

“The one who is giving you knowledge is better than the one who is giving you money; the knowledge you will get will allow you to earn money. Knowledge is power”
– HOG Bukoba Director

 

“I am very grateful and happy for this seminar; it could have been extended, we could have learned for 2 weeks”
– Participant, Bukoba TZ

 

“This seminar has planted seeds in our heads and has made us aware of how important it is for mothers to take care of their own nutrition rather than giving the only available food to the man”
– Participant, Kemondo TZ

 

“We are learning so much in this seminar; it should be extended to the entire community”
– Participant, Kemondo TZ

 

“The people who come to help, to discuss family planning or to do projects like this, end up leaving shortly after. In order to make the project sustainable, we must continue to teach each other this information”
– Participant, Kemondo TZ

 

 

About the Volunteers

 

Edi –

 

Joas –

 

Donata –

 

Carly – Carly holds a Neuroscience B.S. from the University of Minnesota and is currently a medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Carly first travelled to Bukoba, Tanzania in 2012 with the student organization Biology Without Borders. In Bukoba she connected with House of Grace and was inspired by this growing, grassroots organization and the compassion of the founder. In the summer of 2014, Carly returned to Tanzania after completing her Bachelors degree to lead the HOG Nutrition and Agriculture Initiative and climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Carly hopes to pursue global health through her medical career and will continue to stay involved with House of Grace.

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