Monsanto Fund, in partnership with Africare, has pledged $5 million over a five-year period to improve nutrition and access to healthy food for women and young children in Turkana County, Kenya.
Africare, based in Washington, D.C., works in partnership with African people to build sustainable, healthy and productive communities. With support from the Monsanto Fund, the new Improved Approach to Community-based Nutrition in Turkana (IMPACT) Project, will provide increased access and availability of diverse and nutrient-rich food to pregnant women, new mothers, infants and young children. The initiative, which is aligned with the Kenyan government’s Big 4 Agenda to address food insecurity, will also improve access to quality health services while sharing information about the prevention and treatment of malnutrition.
“We are grateful for the support of the Monsanto Fund in providing us the resources to help the people of Turkana County lead healthier lives,” says Robert L. Mallett, President of Africare. “We believe that everyone needs to be at the table – local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector – to drive real and sustainable relief for the people of Turkana County.”
Turkana County is located more than 450 miles north of Nairobi, Kenya. According to a report released last month by the Kenya National Bureau Statistics Office, Turkana County is the poorest among the nation’s 47 counties; 88 percent live below the poverty level compared to 45 percent nationally. Most of the county’s villages do not have electricity or running water. Record malnutrition rates, erratic climate and a disruption of traditional food sources have led the World Health Organization to designate Turkana County as an Acute Food and Livelihood Crisis area. The IMPACT project is expected to reach 27,000 children who reside within the county’s 7,800 households.
“Every family should have access to a balanced meal. However, such access becomes difficult when there is limited availability to healthy and nutritious food options,” says Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund President. “The Monsanto Fund is committed to globally fighting malnutrition. Our partnership with Africare provides an opportunity for both organizations to collaborate and develop effective and direct solutions for those who reside in the region.”
The IMPACT Project’s approach will include a program to increase the capacity of health facilities to screen and treat children diagnosed with acute malnutrition, educate key community leaders and mothers on the role of nutrition in long-term behavioral change, establish household and communal gardens and ensure access to quality water through the restoration and construction of various water sources.
In 2016 the Monsanto Fund introduced a new strategic platform aimed at partnering with specific organizations to address global malnutrition and food insecurity. The first investments were for programs launched in St. Louis, Missouri, and in Petrolina, Brazil. The IMPACT program in Turkana County, Kenya, is the third site, with the primary goal of improving access to food and encouraging healthy eating behaviors, with a focus on the needs of women and children.
“The IMPACT Project is the latest nutritional commitment of the Monsanto Fund in Africa,” adds Mitchell. “Last week, we launched the Monsanto Fund Latia Resource Centre Poultry Project in Kajado, Kenya which will train more than 2,500 women to become poultry farmers, allowing them to earn an income and provide food for their families. Also in 2016, we continued our long-standing investment in the Buhle Farmers Academy in South Africa to provide rural farmers access to technical, production and business support services to improve their farming methods.”