Every Step Forward Is a Reward

Every Step Forward Is a Reward

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Malalatiana Katia Rakotobe, CARE Madagascar

Line, 29, was supported by the FARN-G (Nutrition Improvement and Recovery Nutrition – Pregnancy) program from the third month of her third pregnancy until the birth of her child. She received corn flour, oil and other foods to improve her nutrition during pregnancy. “During my pregnancy, I felt healthier because I received food from the program.”

“At the time I had my first two children, we did not care about the weight of the children and their health condition. Compared to the situation now, just after Patricia’s birth, I was supported by a community health volunteer. We were taught to take hygiene measures, boil water and hygiene promotion for my children. They also taught us cooking practices to prepare meals of balanced nutritional value. We learnt how to prepare meals for kids. I now add some pistachio, tomato, oil or other ingredients to complete the nutritional intake for each meal.”

The community health volunteer (CHV) in the village made a big effort to sensitize mothers and women in the village about hygiene behavior. Hand washing practices, boiling water and purification, and latrine use became natural behavior for Line’s family. Mother and kids are healthier. They use mosquito nets to prevent malaria infection. They always boil water before using it for cooking and drinking and the kids drink clean water.

“From birth to now, Patricia has been growing correctly. She is always healthy. Only once she had a fever, but directly we were oriented by the CHV to health center. In our village, the children who do not achieve normal growth based on age are oriented to FARN-DP (positive deviance) support for 12 days. Thank God that Patricia is always healthy and grows correctly.

“I noticed that my children's health improves. First, during the pregnancy, there was a big difference for Patricia, I felt stronger. Nowadays, before, my first two children were victims of diarrhea and other waterborne diseases. Now, my three children are healthy, we learned hygiene, how to always have clean and potable water.”

Line is grateful for the support that she received during the SALOHI program. “I am confident that what I learnt during the program is all useful for my future life. We no longer have problems paying the school fees for the kids, and the lean period is shorter than before. I wish that my son becomes a doctor and Ortensia a teacher.”

Participating in several capacity-building activities held for members of the village savings and loan association (VSLA) and in the FARN-G program, Line learnt new agricultural techniques (rice, corn, market gardening). In her family, Line notices that decisions are now made in consultation. Previously, it was always her husband who decided what to do for the family and how to manage resources. For the next VSLA cycle, Line and her husband have already decided on their investment. “We will buy a rice field for more land to cultivate. Moreover, for the current cycle, we have borrowed $8 to buy corn seed that we cultivate. We expect to harvest around the beginning of next year, then sell a part of the harvest for profit and repay to the VSLA group.” Line is very active in her association, she likes attending meetings, during which she strengthens her friendship with the other members.

“As preparedness activities are new for us, the local committee of disaster risks management is very reactive in integrating the household in all sensitization session. I am aware that I can be better prepared for the coming cyclone season. Last year, my children helped me preparing the food, fetching water, securing goods.” Her husband also allows her to invest in preparedness activities in the household.