WorldVeg, UNICEF partner to improve children’s diets in Cameroon’s Far-north

Vegetables to enrich food with vital nutrients for infants and young children

Willie Tiemo, nutrition consultant, discusses the need to include vegetables in the diets of young children.

About 125 participants (42 women and 83 men) attended the launch of the project “Improving diet diversity among children aged 0-23 months in the Far-north region” from 18-20 September 2019 in Mokolo, Cameroon. Funded by UNICEF and implemented by the World Vegetable Center, the project will work with five health centers (Mokolo 1, Mokolo 2, Mandaka-Chechem, Zamay and Mokong) and parents to address the nutritional quality of the meals fed to infants and very young children.

Local administration representatives (divisional sub-divisional officers), traditional rulers, community leaders, health center and agricultural post chiefs, and other stakeholders learned about the project’s expected outputs, activities and indicators. A specific effort was made to clarify how beneficiaries will be selected and the specific methodology to be used.

Mrs. Regine Kamga, WorldVeg Research Associate – Acting Liaison Officer, presented WorldVeg activities, highlighted the importance of vegetable consumption for diet diversity, and introduced the new project. In her presentation, Mrs. Willie Tiemo, Consultant Nutritionist, stressed the fact that infant malnutrition is not only the result of low food consumption, but also of poor food quality, low dietary diversity, and poor dietary practices. She explained the important role of vegetables in providing vitamin A and emphazised hygiene in food prepration, as there have been cases of cholera in the region. She then explained the multidimensional aspects of the fight against malnutrition. WorldVeg agronomist Mr. Ronal Chendjou discussed the project’s agricultural aspects and explained the learn-by-doing approach for training of trainers at demonstration plots, which also will serve as community education centers.

On behalf of the divisional officer of Mayo-Tsanaga, Mr. Abdoul Ladif Wahab and the traditional rulers welcomed the project, and said the information shared during the launch would help dispel misunderstandings and preconceptions related to vegetable consumption. Resolutions were agreed to plan culturally sensitive training sessions with the involvement of traditional rulers, which will help ensure project activities can succeed in providing healthier diets for the children of Mokolo. 

Story and photos: Regine Kamga

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Regine Kamga shares data on the nutritional quality of vegetables.

Ronal Chendjou explains the agricultural aspects of the project.