Ballymena & Antrim Times reporter Lorna McKay has been spending the week in Zambia covering the work of Concern in the region.
The trip is focusing on the work of Concern’s RAIN project in the Mumbwa district.
RAIN - Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition - aims to prevent child and maternal malnutrition among poor rural communties.
The project has been set up in a bid to tackle chronic under-nutrition in the country where one in two children are considered to be stunted.
As part of the project, local women are being educated on growing nutritious food, something they wouldn’t normally have a say over as up until now this has been primarily the man’s decision.
Through RAIN, it is hoped that through the education programme, husbands will see the benefit to their family by allowing some of their land to be used to grow nutritious crops.
On the first day of the trip, the group travelled to Muchena Village in the Milandu ward.
The group were treated to a warm welcome by Mainess Munamalambo and her husband Shadreck Hanga’ndo and friends from the local women’s group.
Mainess and Shadreck were given help from Concern to set up their garden and are now growing over 10 different crops.
The couple are still growing traditional crops of maize and cotton in the wet season, but in the dry season are now diversifying to grow the likes of spinach, okra, onions, tomatoes, sweet potato, carrots and cow peas (black eyed beans).
The group then travelled to the nearby village of Shababwa to visit Lillian Shachinda, a beneficiary of Concern.
Lillian has been provided with solar driers by Concern. These solar driers allow Lillian to preserve seeds and crops from her garden, which means her family has nutritious food for longer.
And, such has been the success of Lillian’s preserving that she is able to sell any excess, meaning more income for her household.