Changemaker: Maureen Muketa
Country of Implementation: Kenya
A worrying 71% of total deaths globally and 55% in Kenya, are caused by Non-Communicable Diseases such as Obesity, Diabetes, and Hypertension. This is partly attributed to poor feeding practices. Highly processed foods that are high in fat and low in fiber are considered to be a rich person’s diet, while the foods high in fiber and low in fat are considered to be a poor person's diet. This created an innate desire in Maureen to start an organisation called 'Tule Vyema' which is Swahili for 'LET'S EAT RIGHT '. Tule Vyema raises awareness of proper feeding practices in the community through holding Nutrition Health talks, teaching sack farming and deworming children. We teach young women of reproductive age how to cultivate and consume indigenous vegetables through raising awareness on the importance of embracing indigenous vegetables. Our choice for this group is because iron is a nutrient of concern among this age group. Together, we cultivate selected indigenous vegetables mainly African Night Shade, Amaranth, Cow Peas and Spider Plant due to their high fiber content, medicinal value, and richness in nutritive properties. These vegetables also have a shorter maturity period, are easy to plant, and are more drought-resistant as compared to exotic vegetables.
After maturity, the young women harvest the vegetables for consumption at their homes and also, sell the surplus and use the money to meet some of other basic needs. We conduct nutritional talks on proper feeding practices where we teach members of the community the importance of eating a diversified diet so as to avoid monotony since there is no single food item that is rich in all the nutrients that our bodies require. We also deworm children up to the age of 12 years so as to eliminate helminths that would otherwise cause iron deficiency anemia, poor appetite, diarrhea, body thinning and other incidences of morbidity that would be detrimental to their health which would directly negate our work.
With the Nutrition health talks and setting up of the sack farms we have been able to impact
150 households and dewormed over 300 children.