Kitchen Gardens Help Address Malnutrition in Eastern Chad

By Laura Jepsen, Project Reporting & Communications Officer, International Medical Corps

June 24, 2013— As summer comes around, it’s time to dust off our gardening gloves and think about what we can grow. For Darfuri refugees living in Chad, kitchen gardens are providing a lifeline for malnourished children.

Since 2003, eastern Chad has seen more than 200,000 refugees flee across the border from Darfur, filling overcrowded refugee camps, placing strain on Chad’s limited resources and its already highly vulnerable local population. Erratic weather and long term food insecurity in the region means that malnutrition is a constant risk for refugee families.

International Medical Corps, thanks to funding from the Bureau for Population, Refugees & Migration, is working tirelessly to provide health and nutrition services to the refugee communities and the local host populations.

True to our mission of training local communities to help themselves, International Medical Corps has begun a series of activities that will support refugee families to grow their own food. Fifty households will soon have their own kitchen gardens and be able to produce enough nutritious food to combat malnutrition.

These raised-bed gardens encourage vegetables to grow very quickly, producing edible crops within 21 days, while only needing a small amount of space and limited water. International Medical Corps experts support the refugee families through every stage, from trainings on the importance of good nutrition, help with building the gardens, providing the seeds to be planted and finally showing mothers how to prepare the food in the most nutritious ways possible.

The kitchen garden project is focused on the prevention of malnutrition among vulnerable groups. It forms part of our wider nutrition project in Chad that includes regular screening of children under five and pregnant women; a supplementary feeding program for moderately malnourished children; outpatient therapeutic programs for those with acute malnutrition; and stabilization centers for those with acute malnutrition and medical complications.

FROM RELIEF TO SELF-RELIANCE

For 30 years, International Medical Corps has worked to relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease by delivering vital health care services that focus on training, helping devastated populations return to self-reliance.

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