WFP Brings Work And Nutrition To Bear On Hunger In Mali
In the region of Koulikoro (southern Mali), chronic malnutrition rates are amongst the highest in the country, yet most of the cereals in Mali are produced in the south. People spend most of their resources on one or two basic foods which are not enough to give them all the nutriments they would get from a more diverse diet.
Some 30 per cent of people in southern Mali are malnourished. Children and new mothers in particular need assistance to be healthy. In this image, six-month-old Issa eats a special nutrition product called Plumpy’Sup. This peanut butter-like paste is extremely rich in calories and very nutritive. A daily sachet reinforces the immune system and long bone growth in reversing stunted height, while protein also contributes to muscle development. As malnutrition shrinks the stomach, children don’t need to eat big quantities to start recovering.
Through the programme, women are also trained on ways to prevent malnutrition in their children. One of the most important rules is to make their diets as diverse as possible.
In Ouelessebougou, food-for-work helped building a small dam, allowing farmers to diversify their agricultural production. Around 2,000 people live in the village, and the dam provides a new boost to the local economy.
Before the project launched over a year ago, Adou survived on his millet crop. Sporadic rains, like those that fell in 2011 and 2012, could make the difference between survival and hunger. In the years to come, the dam he’s working on will provide a reliable source of water if the rains come to early or late.
Thanks to the water retained by the dam, farmers are now growing paddy rice, but also potatoes, tomatoes and of course millet. They have also built a small fishing pound, so they can eat more proteins. They also sell their products on the local markets, which brings in money for the community.
In exchange of their work, food-for-work beneficiaries receive two kilograms of dry food rations of millet and rice per person per day. Food distributions are organized on a weekly basis by WFP’s implementing partner REACH Italia.
Adou has 11 children, and it is very difficult to feed them all. Thanks to WFP’s food-for-work project, he is able to offer them better and more diverse meals that help preventing malnutrition. In addition, the money his wife earned by selling vegetables on the local markets helped the family moving to a new house, much bigger – Adou will be a grandfather someday, and he needs space for his growing family.
Through its nutrition and rural development programmes in southern Mali, WFP helps fight hunger in a region where chronic malnutrition rates are amongst the highest in the country