Home NewsNational Bandebereho: Meet the Nyabihu Men Who Vowed to Take The Issue of Stunting In Hand

Bandebereho: Meet the Nyabihu Men Who Vowed to Take The Issue of Stunting In Hand

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
11:07 am

Bandebereho

 ‘You will not suffer stunting as long as we live,’ is a vow the men from Nyabihu district, Western Province have made, a resolve to contribute to early childhood development.

The vow is also part of the theme of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Day that was celebrated last week in Jenda sector, Nyabihu district, May 28.

Parents, community health workers, local leaders and other stakeholders made it to the event to discuss ways to better early childhood development.

ECDs were treated with several materials that they need to serve the children better

At the helm of the event’s organisation the district was joined by development partners in child activism. They include Reach the Children Rwanda (RCR), USAID Gikuriro kuri Bose, and USAID Uburezi Iwacu, ChildFund Korea, to mention just a few.

This comes after a request to the partners in this sector, to have a biannual forum to discuss achievements, challenges while also making awareness campaign in regard to early childhood development.

Nyabihu is among districts with high prevalence in stunting now at 34.5 per cent.

Benjamin Mushuhukye, the president of Reach the Children Rwanda, an organisation with initiatives that promote early childhood development said that they have been working hard to bring both mothers and fathers on board.

A survey that was conducted in Bigogwe sector, Nyabihu district last year informed them. According to Mushuhukye, the survey indicated that men are lagging behind in terms of early childhood development’s literacy.

“This gave us an idea to start an early childhood development campaign targeting men because it’s clear that when they change the mindset, they become a role model,” Mushuhukye said.

At the moment, there are one hundred men included in ten groups under Bandeberaho initiative in Bigogwe sector. Members were grouped and trained courtesy of Nyabihu district in partnership with Reach the Children, a plan which the partner wishes, is rolled out countrywide.

Pledges

During a seminar on early childhood development program, men from Bandebereho associations vowed to eradicate stunting to an extent that there will be no child below the stunting red line in a couple of months.

The men vowed to buy layers chicken which would give parents eggs and fight stunting.

In a drama, the men showed how parents can take children to school in the morning, then pick them up in the afternoon, feed them and prepare them to sleep, which help the children hugely.

There are in Nyabihu 1222 early childhood development centers which include 30,000 children who attend the centers every working day.

Mushuhukye however, noted that the number of children in the centers was 24,000 at the beginning of the year, which means that within barely six months, the Bandebereho did a tremendous job to add more children going to ECDs.

Mushuhukye feeding children during the celebration

Despite this milestone however, he said, there are still some parents whom, due to lack of awareness of the role of ECDs, take the children with them to the farms, which denies them an opportunity to grow well at the centers.

Antoinette Mukandayisenga, the mayor of Nyabihu district said that it is paramount to take care of children from pregnancy, because their education is the way to go in preparing the future of the country.

In his message of appreciation to Bandebereho groups, the mayor said, that they are role models whom all men should emulate.

Antoinette Mukandayisenga, the mayor of Nyabihu district

She encouraged parents to always be mindful of their children’s nutrition.

“As you discuss in evening, think about a balanced diet and how you can prepare it. Men especially, should understand that yes, there are some vegetables in the garden, but that is not enough; instead of drinking binge, they can buy silver fish to add into the diet and balance it,” he said.

“We would not be serving a purpose if we are nurturing a community which we know, will not procure a cell leader, a sector executive secretary or someone else, because they are stunted.”

Ildephonse Nitabare from Jenda sector, Rega cell testified that in the past, men were not interested in the childhood development, but things are changing, courtesy of Bandebereho initiative.

“Across my village, households are now doing all necessaries to face stunting; every family has got their vegetable garden which helps to balance the diet in our homes. It is unfortunate that the district still huge numbers in stunting because some parents are yet to heed,” he said.

Nyabihu district is however hopeful that they will leave behind the issue of stunting, given the records.

Stunting was as high as 59 per cent in 2015, but the number has declined to 34.5 per cent ever since.

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