Combatting Vitamin A Deficiency

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98% of the people living in Bungoma County in Western Kenya are small-scale subsistence farmers living on less than $1.50 a day and the majority are malnourished and suffer from food insecurity. Women and children have an especially low social status and very few opportunities for self-determinism. Throughout the region, vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a major health problem, with more than 60% of children in sub-Saharan Africa living with VAD. VAD causes night blindness and lowers a child’s capacity to fight malaria, measles, pneumonia, diarrhea and AIDS-associated illnesses. VAD also causes stunting in children, lowers IQ and significantly increases risks for both mothers and infants during childbirth. The costs of VAD in terms of lives lost and reduced quality of life are overwhelming. We are working together with the Wenyewe Livelihood Group to combat VAD, hunger and malnutrition by teaching local farmers how to grow various crops which are rich in vitamin A with a particular focus on orange-fleshed sweet potatoes which due to their drought-tolerance are also a reliable famine food. The project participants will also be provided with a chipper, a milling machine and a dryer to produce sweet potato chips and flour.