Young Women’s Christian Association of Rwanda (YWCA Rwanda) in partnership with Catholic Relief Services and SNV have been implementing the “USAID GIKURIRO Program” in Ngoma District since September 2016. The USAID GIKURIRO Program is a five years program that aims to improve the nutritional status of women of reproductive age and children under five years of age, with an emphasis on the 1,000 day window of opportunity from pregnancy until a child’s second birthday. It was in that regard that USAID and CHAIN (Community Health and Improved Nutrition) team members conducted a field visit to Ngoma District in Zaza sector on the 24th of May 2017 to assess the progress made in GIKURIRO implementation and to learn the best practices. The team began by holding a meeting with the Ngoma district officials and shared the contribution of all the CHAIN members in improving the lives of the vulnerable populations in the district as well as the progress on all the USAID funded program activities to the vice mayor in charge of social affairs and the JADF of Ngoma district. During her remarks, the vice mayor appreciated USAID and the partners for the great work done in improving the lives of the vulnerable populations but more so for the efforts put in the area of health, nutrition and WASH and further encouraged all the stakeholders to continue engaging the program beneficiaries in the implementation in order to lead to the sustainability these programs.
The team which was headed by the USAID Rwanda Health Director, proceeded to Akabeza village in Ruhembe cell of Zaza sector where they visited an integrated nutrition site comprising of Farmer Field Learning Schools(FFLS) adoptions made by beneficiaries, a village nutrition school, Imbere Heza Saving and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) and WASH activities. USAID Gikuriro program beneficiaries were happy to receive the team and showcased some of the activities that they participate in whenever they meet including kitchen gardens, Growth monitoring and WASH activities.

During his remarks, the district agronomist appreciated USAID for funding the program that has contributed to capacity building of the beneficiaries on the bio-intensive techniques which many households have adopted such as the kitchen gardens. These have contributed to the regular supply of fresh vegetables which have boosted the village nutrition because they contain vitamins and minerals that protect against diseases.
One of the remarkable events that took place was the feeding of children.

Nyirabiyaremye Yvonne a 23 year old mother of two children appreciated the USAID Gikuriro program for having helped her 3 year old child recover from the mild malnutrition status. “Having been weighed by the Community Health Worker and the child’s result showed red which was a clear indication of malnutrition, I was recommended to transfer my child to the nearby health center. However, I decided to join the Gikuriro Village Nutrition Schools where my child was put on an intensive care where they trained me on how best I could prepare a balanced diet for my child a process that took three months. This helped to change the health status of my child from Red to green.” Said Yvonne. She also adopted some of the techniques in her household to help her continue getting the nutritious vegetables to feed her children with ease. The adoption of these BIATs has further helped her reduce on the costs she used to incur while buying some of these produce as well as selling some of these vegetables and has been able to set aside some money to save in the Imbere Heza SILC.

In her closing remarks, the deputy chief of party of GIKURIRO expressed her joy of witnessing tremendous progress in the implementation of GIKURIRO program in the district. She also thanked YWCA for maintaining a close collaboration with all the stakeholders especially the involvement of all levels of the government officials. On the other hand, the USAID Rwanda Health Director was also pleased to meet up with the beneficiaries and assess the program results.