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Nutrition a hot topic in TOT

Training trainers to see nutrition as an aspect of an integrated food system in Tanzania.

Giving due consideration to nutrition during TOT group discussions.

Giving due consideration to nutrition during TOT group discussions.

In the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar, WorldVeg Eastern and Southern Africa Research Assistant Inviolate Dominick conducted two Training-of-Trainers (TOT) sessions on nutrition for extension staff, field officers, community health volunteers, and staff from the Mboga na Matunda (MnM) project. The sessions were held from 19-21 June 2019 on Unguja, the main island, for 24 participants, and from 25-28 June 2019 on Pemba Island for 28 participants.

The training sought to reframe participants’ previous knowledge of nutrition and extension activities, emphasizing a more holistic approach to increase awareness of nutrition. “We want to promote positive change by increasing consumption of traditional vegetables and encouraging other practices to maximize nutritional benefits throughout the community,” said Inviolate.

People living on Pemba and Unguja seldom consume leafy vegetables, primarily because they do not know how to prepare these foods. Many lack awareness of what constitutes a balanced diet, which affects overall community nutritional status, especially for vulnerable such as pre-school children, pregnant and lactating women.

The TOT covered four modules through lectures, brainstorming and Q&A sessions, PowerPoint and pictorial presentations, discussions, group work, and practical demonstrations: 1) Concepts of Food and Nutrition Security; 2) Principles of Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture and Vegetable Production; 3) Behavior Change Communication; and 4) Concepts of Food Safety and Hygiene.

Staff from the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and Fisheries, Ministry of Health, Save the Children, and Milele Foundation shared their perspectives and knowledge with participants.

Evaluation of the TOT by participants indicated 90% gained useful knowledge during the sessions. Many want the MnM project to organize training on vegetable recipe preparation to preserve nutrients and improve palatability of traditional vegetables such as African eggplant and nightshade. Proper ways of processing/preserving vegetables was another topic of interest; participants noted this could provide a solution to production gluts and provide access to nutritious vegetables year round.

Story and photos: Inviolate Dominick

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