In this series, families in the Reaching Children’s Potential (RCP) Demonstration Program in Tanzania explain how their participation improves their lives. Global Volunteers’ RCP Program engages short-term volunteers to help parents deliver essential services improving health, eradicating hunger, and enhancing cognition – with the goal of eliminating child stunting in the Ukwega Ward and throughout Tanzania. Through RCP, families obtain the nutrition, health care, knowledge, technology, and encouragement needed to combat stunting, and to ensure their children can realize their full potential. The RCP Program is a child-focused, parent-driven, family-centered, and community-led comprehensive effort. It begins with pregnancy, and continues through the 18th birthday, with a focus on the first 1,000 days of life. Read Fausta Mgoba’s interview about the RCP Program here.
Fausta, we’re interested in learning more about your family. What can you tell us about your background and your daily life?
My husband and I were born, raised, and educated in Ukwega. We are farmers and grow mainly corn and beans, but also cassava, bananas, and sweet potatoes for sustainability. I also make beer once a week for people to buy. I appreciate Ukwega because it is a place that raised me very well and it has very nice land to grow many things. I love my homeland.
About my daily schedule: I usually wake up at 6:00 a.m. to prepare my children for school. For the rest of the day, I mostly spend time in the fields or sometimes making local beer to sell. When I get time to relax, I use that time for domestic activities. In Ukwega we have plenty of water and the water tap is just outside my house so I do not walk far to fetch water. I love reading story books and books which have specific teachings.
“I appreciate Ukwega because it is a place that raised me very well and it has very nice land to grow many things. I love my homeland.”– Fausta Mgabo, RCP mom
Can you tell us about how you were trained on the hand-washing stations and any improvements you’ve seen in your family’s health since having easy access to soap and sanitized water?
I use the hand-washing station regularly and I have trained my children to be washing their hands, too. They were very receptive to the technology. The technology is easy and applicable because we have easy access to soap and clean water. I have seen a difference since we started washing our hands because before we were suffering from diarrhea regularly, but it’s been a while since we suffered from this. My children were also having other stomach illnesses many times, but we didn’t know the reason behind it. Now I have realized it’s because of dirty hands — that is why we were suffering. I’m grateful to the RCP Program because we have been taught something very crucial which has been very helpful – even now with the coronavirus.
“I’m grateful to the RCP Program because we have been taught something very crucial which has been very helpful even now with the coronavirus.”– Fausta Mgabo, RCP mom
Tell us about how you’ve added the Rise Against Hunger (RAH) meals to your daily diet.
The meals have been very important to me and my child. When I cook the meals here at home, I just add a little salt and oil. It is still a challenge for my youngest, Bertha, to take the meals. I think it is still a new thing for her, but hopefully she will catch up slowly. As for me, I still eat the meals and I like the food. I hope Bertha is getting the meals indirectly through my breast milk. I feed Bertha three meals a day and they include rice, ugali, beans, meat if we can afford it on the day that it is available, sardines, vegetables, and fruits, mostly bananas and avocados. Bertha’s health is also good, and I hope it will still be good as we keep eating this food because it has a mixture of a lot of nutrients. Two of my other children, Clara and Lazaro, enjoy the food they receive at school so much, and they have become very active. I see them becoming a little fat.
What parts of the RCP Program are most important to you, Fausta?
Our life has been eased because of the access to free services at the clinic. Before the program when we got sick, we used to take a pain killer and sleep without any treatment because we couldn’t afford the costs at the hospital. The services at the clinic are great. The way they provide services and treat the patients is really encouraging.
Also, our food budget has been regulated because we now receive the meals in the program. So now we can serve more food than before. I have benefited a lot from the lessons that we get in the program because my little one is much healthier than my other children were at her age. It is also very rare for her to get sick, but my older ones used to get sick regularly. So the workshops on nutrition and disease prevention have been very helpful to me. Also, I have learned about developmental milestones and this has helped me to assess my child very carefully. I have noticed she is growing better than how other children were when they were babies. I love the workshops because they are the center of everything that we are practicing today. We couldn’t be aware of things if we didn’t have the workshops. I also love home visits because there is also something to gain from the caregivers.
“I love the workshops because they are the center of everything that we are practicing today.”– Fausta Mgabo, RCP mom
What can you tell us about your children, Fausta? What are your hopes for them?
I don’t want my children to be farmers or dependents as I am. I want them to be doctors, nurses, or teachers, and be independent. I always insist that they study hard now so that they can be better people in the future. Their performance at school is great. Most of the time they are in the top ten for exam scores. My second born, Zukila, is 23 years old and is at college pursuing a certificate in community development. I have already seen the benefit of the program in helping my children, especially the ones who are at the primary school, as they are getting meals and they are stronger than before. I hope they will be able to reach their dreams.
“I have already seen the benefit of the program in helping my children, especially the ones who are at the primary school, as they are getting meals and they are stronger than before. I hope they will be able to reach their dreams.”– Fausta Mgabo, RCP mom
What worries you, and what are you most proud of as a family?
In the future, I have a plan to keep more chickens so that I can sell eggs and chickens. The biggest challenge is that my older children have not yet been able to reach their dreams due to our circumstances, but I’m struggling to shape my little ones to reach their dreams in the future. I love my children and I feel so happy when I look at them.