Posts Tagged: “Homestead Food Production”

One Mother Helping Many

Homestead Food Production in Nepal

Photo: c. HKI/George Figdor

Parvati was born into a small family in Far Western Nepal. Since her family could not afford school fees, she has no formal education.  She has a small piece of land, but it is not sufficient to provide food year-round for Parvati’s family, which includes her small son and daughter.

Motivated by the need to care for her family, Parvati joined HKI’s Homestead Food Production  program, where she received training in  homestead farming.  After learning about how to cultivate nutrient-dense vegetables and raise chickens for egg production on a Village Model Farm, she received five chickens and seasonal vegetable seeds, along with the skills she needed to manage them. Before long, Parvati was able to multiply her five chickens to 16 and now feeds her family with healthy vegetables from her own garden and protein-rich eggs laid by her chickens.

With her family healthy and thriving, Parvati wants to give her children a chance to have the formal education she did not.  To do so, she is selling her vegetables, eggs and hatched chicks to raise enough money to send them to school.  “I will continue to raise more poultry and vegetables by renting additional land from big landholders,” she says. “I have a plan to send my children to a better school with my earnings.”

Beyond allowing her own family to benefit from her new skills, Parvati is helping other mothers in her community reach their full potential.  She began teaching farming skills at her village’s infant and young child feeding group “I tell my friends and neighbors about the importance of eggs and vegetables for their children and for women when they are pregnant and breastfeeding.”

As we approach Mother’s Day, HKI will be celebrating mothers around the world.  Mother’s like Parvati, who are a testament to courageous women everywhere and a reminder of how, with the right skills and tools, one mother can help many.

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Categories Asia-Pacific, Reducing Malnutrition

Mothers of Pout: Making a Difference in the Fight against Malnutrition

Amy Diallo is from the small village of Pout, which lies about 30 miles east of Dakar, Senegal’s ocean-side capital.  The commercial farms in this region produce watermelon, coconut, grapefruit and mango – a colorful bounty that is out of reach for the average family in Senegal, where more than half the population lives in poverty.  Instead, families commit scarce resources to staples like rice that fill empty bellies but lack essential micronutrients that protect the immune system and help children grow. more…

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

Rashida Begum: A New Entrepreneur

Rashida in her garden

Rashida in her garden

Rashida and her husband live with their two sons in Howalvangi, a village in southern Bangladesh. With her husband’s meager income, Rashida says “I could not feed our family. Sometimes we ate only once a day. We used to own a few goats and sheep, but had to sell them to buy food.”

To supplement their diet, Rashida tried to cultivate vegetables in their home garden using the traditional approach: simply scattering seeds on the ground without preparing raised beds, protecting seedlings or adding compost to the soil. Her harvest was limited to a few vegetables in the winter (peak growing season). The region’s poor soil made growing vegetables difficult for Rashida, as it did for other women in the village.


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Categories Asia-Pacific, Reducing Malnutrition

Nutrition’s Time Has at Long Last Come

Kathy Spahn discusses her participation in the launch of IFPRI’s Global Food Policy Report, and the window of opportunity that has opened for nutrition
Global Food Policy Report

This blog is by Kathy Spahn, HKI’s President & CEO. Ms. Spahn was asked to speak about the rising profile of nutrition in the development agenda at the launch of IFPRI’s new flagship publication, the Global Food Policy Report.

On April 23rd I participated on a panel organized by IFPRI, the International Food Policy Research Institute, to launch their first Global Food Policy Report, a comprehensive report about major food policy developments and challenges of the past few years, and the outlook for 2012.

It’s an exciting time to be working in nutrition; at long last its star is on the rise. When I first joined Helen Keller International there weren’t many organizations like us or IFPRI that concentrated specifically on nutrition and its vital role in the health and development of nations. Over the past few years, beginning with the 2008 Lancet series, which highlighted the central links between nutrition and food security, to the more recent launch of the 1,000 Days campaign and the promotion of the Scale Up Nutrition (SUN) framework, it seems everyone is now thinking about nutrition. It’s even on the agenda of the World Economic Forum and the G8!


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Categories Reducing Malnutrition

Postcard from Bangladesh: A Day in a Mother’s Life

Enhanced Homestead Food Production in Action
Bread 1

This blog post was originally published on Bread for the World’s Bread Blog after a visit to see Helen Keller International’s Homestead Food Production in Bangladesh in action. Photographs are by Laura Elizabeth Pohl and text by Molly Marsh.

The afternoon hours are Tohomino Akter’s favorite time of day. That’s when she can take a break from her household tasks, rest, and play with her 17-month-old daughter, Adia. Like any toddler, Adia much prefers movement.


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Categories Asia-Pacific, Reducing Malnutrition

How to Make a Difference: Meet HKI’s Jennifer Nielsen

An interview with HKI's Senior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health
Jennifer in Nepal

I often wonder how people actually get to live their dreams. I sat down recently with Jennifer Nielsen, Senior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health for Helen Keller International, and discovered someone who has actually done just that. Here is Jennifer’s story:


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Categories Africa, Helen Keller, Reducing Malnutrition, Staff Profiles

With Better Support Women Farmers Could Feed Millions More


This post was written by Kathy Spahn, Helen Keller International’s President & CEO and also appeared on the 1,000 Days Blog.

I participated in a panel yesterday hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that focused on the role of women in promoting transformative agricultural development and food security. As Secretary Clinton noted, if women farmers were given equal resources – land, seeds, water, credit and access to markets – they could grow enough to feed another 150 million people each year! With this compelling fact in hand, the discussion got off to a lively start, and ranged from talk about men and tractors to talk about vitamins and land rights.


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Categories Asia-Pacific, Reducing Malnutrition

A Key Advocate for Better Nutrition in West Africa

President Monteiro

This post was written by Shawn Baker, HKI’s vice president and regional director for Africa.

Nutrition is truly an adventure – and you end up doing so many things that you never even imagined when getting training at university. This last week has been a huge privilege, engaging for four days with one of the most respected statesmen of West Africa, President António Manuel Mascarenhas Gomes Monteiro (photo at left), former head of state of Cape Verde, to discuss the issues of undernutrition in West Africa.


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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

How a Transformational Experience Led to a Life Spent in Public Health: Meet HKI’s Shawn Baker

An interview with HKI's Vice President and Regional Director for Africa
shawn with baby

Since Shawn Baker recently blogged about his experiences traveling with NY Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof, we thought it would be a good time to get to know Helen Keller International’s VP and Regional Director for Africa a little better.  I sat down with Shawn who told me of a moving experience he had that helped determine the course of his life and his 29-year career as a leader in public health.

How this marine biologist got into public health: “What most people don’t know about me is that I’m supposed to be a marine biologist. I grew up watching too many Jacques Cousteau documentaries and studied marine biology at University. My foray into international development work started out as a two-year hiatus as a Peace Corps volunteer in what was then Zaïre (now Democratic Republic of Congo), which has ended up being a 29-year hiatus. It just shows the impact a life-changing experience can have.


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Categories Africa, Helen Keller, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition, Staff Profiles

End of the Adventure: Five Strategies for Fighting Malnutrition

Doug reflects on how HKI is preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition for the most vulnerable in West Africa.
Breastfeeding in Kolifo

Today, we drove the 150 miles from Fada N’Gourma to Ouagadougou – the last leg before flying out tomorrow morning. On arriving in Ouagadougou, Nicholas Kristof and the “Win-a-Trip” winners visited a center for supporting people living with HIV. Over the course of the past week, Shawn Baker and I have accompanied Nick through four countries – Mauritania, Senegal, Niger and Burkina Faso. We’ve been in numerous villages, and we’ve spoken in depth with many people – mostly women – about the challenges of their lives and the solutions to help improve their lot.

In pursuit of HKI’s mission to prevent blindness and reduce undernutrition, we focus on two major program areas in Africa – fighting malnutrition (particularly micronutrient deficiency), and controlling certain tropical diseases, such as trachoma and onchocerciasis. During this past week, we have seen some successful programs in each of these areas. During these days, I’ve been reflecting on HKI’s approach to reducing malnutrition.


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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition