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Community health educators in Tajikistan are teaching their communities the power of food and water.
Food and water—can’t live without 'em. They are two of the most basic necessities for a healthy life, and yet 793 million people around the world remain undernourished and 780 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water.
We’re working to change that.
IntraHealth International’s Feed the Future Tajikistan Health and Nutrition Activity (THNA) is helping community health educators teach their communities about the power of food and WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) so they can change eating habits and foster a healthier, more productive society for generations to come.
Across low-income countries, over one-third of health facilities don’t have soap and water for handwashing.
Clean water is necessary for everything from personal hydration to growing food to sanitizing medical equipment. Across low-income countries, over one-third of health facilities don’t have soap and water for handwashing.
That’s why THNA focuses on the roles of nutrition and water in improving the health of women and children in Tajikistan.
The team delivered sterile disposable medical supplies to 14 maternity hospitals to improve the quality of maternal and child services. THNA also hosts community events to help spread the word about nutrition and WASH. Notably, a giant water drop visited over 300 community members in Hosilot village to promote the importance of good hygiene, sanitation, and handwashing.
And through lessons in basic gardening, crop disease, and pest management, women like Maryam are learning to grow quince and other nutrition foods. She and almost 1,400 others are being trained as community health educators to offer information and advice to neighbors about dietary diversity, proper prenatal care, and the nutrition needs of pregnant women and small children.
At a January 27 farmers’ fair in the village of Arabkhona in Nosiri Khusrav district (cohosted by THNA and Feed the Future Tajikistan Agriculture and Water Activity), 300 local farmers, community members, health workers, and regional and district health department staff gathered to celebrate the critical role of agriculture and farmers in providing a varied and nutritious diet to communities in Tajikistan.
Farmers created displays of fruits and vegetables that can help decrease chronic malnutrition and stunting rates in Tajikistan. A THNA nutrition specialist was on hand to discuss the particular importance of a nutrient-rich diet for children under five, the elderly, and pregnant or breastfeeding women.
The fair featured a competition among six dehkan farms for the healthiest variation, preparation, and storage of food. Participants were judged on how well their displays met their own household needs, including those of pregnant or breastfeeding women and children under two living in the household.
Khidirov Qurbonazar won first prize for his farm's display.
The winner—chosen by a jury of local authorities and Feed the Future staff—featured a vast array of foodstuffs: carrots, pumpkins, radishes, turnips, grapes, onions, pears, mung beans, persimmons, pomegranates, and corn. There were canned vegetables, grains, and dairy products, too.
Khidirov Qurbonazar, head of Saidqadam farm, won first prize: a wheelbarrow full of gardening tools.
Be sure to join the conversation March 21 on #AgDay and March 22 on #WorldWaterDay.
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The farmers' event, conducted under the slogan of “I know what healthy food is," raised awareness among rural people of healthy foods for pregnant and breastfeeding women, adolescent girls, and children under five. Unhealthy (junk) foods were also displayed to help attendees understand that some foods children crave are in fact not good for them. IntraHealth’s Feed the Future Tajikistan Health and Nutrition Activity works to improve the health and nutrition of mothers and children and focuses on 12 priority districts in Khatlon Province, which reports some of the highest rates of child stunting, wasting, and underweight levels in the country. THNA is funded by the US Agency for International Development. Our THNA partners include Abt Associates and Mercy Corps.
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