Stories from the Program’s dual approach to ending malnutrition
In 2019, the IMPACT Program, funded by Bayer Fund, was launched and is now being rolled out in Katilu and Turkwel wards of Turkana. The program has a clear goal: addressing malnutrition through a two-pronged approach. This approach includes improving access to quality health services, increasing knowledge for the prevention and treatment of malnutrition, and enhancing household availability, access, and consumption of diversified and nutrient-rich food.
The project has already achieved significant positive impact by improving the quality of healthcare delivered by health workers, increasing the availability of healthy food in households, and enabling sustainable agriculture. We caught up with some of the beneficiaries of the IMPACT Program, who shared how this initiative has positively impacted their lives.
MARY AMEKWI AND MICHAEL ESEKON
Nestled within the larger Katilu Irrigation Scheme, Israel Farm is home to 20 farmers who are directly supported by the program. Among them are Mary Amekwi and Michael Esekon, both of whom are growing a variety of crops, including tomatoes, spinach, watermelons, kales, capsicum, and pawpaws.
Mary, a farmer for the past 15 years, highlights how farming has supported her household, enabling her to pay school fees and purchase essential household goods. She acknowledges the challenges she’s faced, including floods and water scarcity, but with the support of the program, her farming ventures have improved significantly. The training she received enhanced her knowledge in agribusiness, leading her to focus on high-value crops such as capsicum and watermelons. Mary also notes the instrumental role the program’s seeds have played in increasing production.
Next to Mary’s farm is Michael Esekon’s, who is celebrating his third harvest of fully grown tomatoes. Farming has provided him with a means of self-reliance, as the income from his farm covers school fees, clothing, and food for his family. Michael expresses his gratitude for the agricultural extension services provided by the IMPACT Program.
The primary markets for Israel Farm’s produce are Lopur and Katilu Markets, although the high transport costs to better markets in Lokichar and Lodwar often force them to settle for lower prices.
In Nadapal Farm, Turkwel Ward, Sipinyu Ekala meticulously tends to her maize farm and the vegetables grown alongside it. In 2020, farmers received support from the IMPACT Program to clear the overgrown bushes and construct an irrigation canal that now supplies water from the Turkwel River.
Although not originally part of the program’s direct beneficiaries, Sipinyu is among the many farmers who indirectly benefit from the program’s interventions. The presence of water on the farm has rejuvenated once-abandoned land, providing hope to farmers who had previously abandoned their plots due to water scarcity and overgrowth of the mathenge plant.
NELIMA PHOEBE – COMMUNITY HEALTH PROMOTER
To achieve its goal of improving access to quality health services and increasing knowledge for the prevention and treatment of malnutrition, the IMPACT Program collaborates closely with Community Health Volunteers/Promoters (CHVs). Nelima Phoebe is one of the CHVs working under the program. With the program’s support, she has seen a significant improvement in her work.
Nelima can confidently discuss nutrition, hygiene, breastfeeding, and kitchen gardens because of the training she has received. As a CHV, Nelima oversees a care group that brings together ten neighbor women for informative sessions on various health topics. These sessions have enabled her to educate women about kitchen gardens, which now provide essential vegetables to households.
The program trained 48 CHVs and distributed bicycles to each one of them, facilitating their mobility. Informative community dialogue cards were also provided to the CHVs to aid in their work. The program continues to offer training to higher-level health workers, including nutritionists and clinical officers, with the aim of improving the quality of health services offered to communities.
In Kang’eriga, Patrick Ekidor inspects his flourishing sweet potatoes, which provide a stark contrast to the dry, sandy environment outside the farm. Patrick proudly states that his farm is his sole source of income and that the hard work he invests in it yields enough produce to sustain him.
Patrick relies entirely on water from a borehole, which was sunk and equipped by the IMPACT Program. This borehole utilizes solar power to pump water from the ground into storage tanks, which then distribute it throughout the entire farm. Patrick mentions that the fence erected around the farm has resolved the challenges they previously faced with their pastoralist neighbors.
Kang’eriga is one of the ten farms where boreholes have been installed. This farm, established through the program, now supports numerous other farms, with 30 of them being directly supported by IMPACT. In addition to the infrastructural developments, farmers have received seeds, farming tools, and training in water management and good agricultural practices. These initiatives have been replicated across all the farms participating in the program.
As a five-year project entering its final months, PanAfricare Kenya is eager to expand these groundbreaking interventions to more areas. The project has led to reduced rates of food insecurity, resulting in better nutritional outcomes, improved access to healthy diets, enhanced health service delivery, and the promotion of sustainable farming practices in arid Turkana County.
Support PanAfricare Kenya in its mission to combat malnutrition and food insecurity. Contact us today.