Livelihood and Nutrition Empowerment for Women: Yelwa’s home garden vegetables revived her daughter’s health

Home garden seeds – Spinach, Okro, Hibiscus, Moringa, Tomatoes and Pepper- distributed to Yelwa and other nutrition beneficiaries

Yelwa received garden seeds including tomatoes, pepper, moringa, hibiscus, spinach and okro to cultivate her garden.

“Luckily for me, my spinach leaves had grown very well, so I went into my garden and harvested some to prepare “Gwaten” (porridge meal). Since then, I have been preparing different meals with vegetables from my garden!”
Yelwa

Thirty-five years old Yelwa and eighteen other vulnerable women from her community (Tudun wada in Alkaleri LGA) were selected in February, 2017 to participate in the Livelihood and Nutrition Empowerment project, financed by Global Affaires Canada.  Their families were chosen among the most vulnerable households to food insecurity, hence they also benefit from the nutrition activities.

Yelwa have been actively involved in the nutrition sensitization meetings where she was taught how to prepare nutritional balanced meals, combining foods from at least four food groups at every meal (cereals, legume, vegetables/fruits, meat and milk). She also learnt about the importance of owning her own home garden to provide a ready access to diverse foods to improve her household nutrition and health.

In August, Yelwa received garden seeds including tomatoes, pepper, moringa, hibiscus, spinach and okro to cultivate her garden. Shortly after planting the seeds, her five years old daughter Jamila, became seriously ill

with malaria. She became very anemic and was taken to the hospital where she was hospitalized for many days. “She could not eat anything and was very weak” Yelwa explained. “My husband, Musa, spent his little savings to pay for the hospital bill. By the time we were finally discharged, we didn’t know how we could take care of her because we had spent up all our money”

Before leaving the hospital, the doctors had instructed Yelwa to prepare nutritious meals for her daughter, especially “iron- rich” vegetables. “Luckily for me, my spinach leaves had grown very well, so I went into my garden and harvested some to prepare “Gwaten” (porridge meal). Since then, I have been preparing different meals with vegetables from my garden!” Yelwa quickly noticed a difference in her daughter’s health. She certainly overjoyed that her garden had grown so well. It provided the vegetables which helped to revive her daughter’s health. She now share the knowledge acquired during the nutrition sensitization with all her neighbors and friends.

Yelwa and the other beneficiaries all reported that produce from their garden helped improve their health and nutritional status. In addition, the financial burden for food has been reduced and they even earn some money from the sales of the excess produce to buy other food items they need. Yelwa is saving the seeds  of her harvest for the future. “I hope to keep my garden all year long and many years to come” Yelwa says.