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 Zajaneth Kavindi’s interview about the RCP Program here.
Zajaneth, we’re interested in learning more about your family. What can you tell us about your background and children?
My husband, Mussa, and I are both from Ipalamwa and completed our primary education through standard 7 here in the village. This is where we met. We support each other in everything. Both of my children have good behavior and love sports. I hope one of my children becomes a pilot and the other a teacher. I’m working very hard to have enough money to pay the school fees for my children. I also want them to reach a higher level educationally.
Our family’s main source of income is farming, mainly corn and beans. We also grow tomatoes, vegetables, sweet potatoes, yams, and cassava.
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?
My husband, our children, and I all use the hand-washing station regularly. I trained my family as soon as I received the training in the RCP workshop. I was very excited to use it as soon as it was built at our house, but I had a challenge – the soap was being stolen most of the time. So I decided to remove the soap from the hand-washing station when we are all not at home and it helped. Currently people are no longer stealing the soap, so I just leave it at the hand-washing station. I always make sure that there is soap and that the jug has water.
It is very important to wash hands with clean water and soap because it kills all the bacteria that may be on hands. I think the workshops on hand washing and then using the hand-washing station at home have made us more cautious. My children are becoming healthier and they have not gotten sick for quite some time.
Tell us about how you’ve added the Rise Against Hunger (RAH) meals and produce from your EarthBox to your daily diet.
The foods that we always eat are vegetables, ugali, rice, sweet potatoes, cassava, beans, and fruits like avocados, bananas, and oranges. We eat beef whenever it is available in the village and sardines and fish if they are available. My children love all the foods that I have mentioned and they are not picky.
My oldest son, Adriano, receives RAH meals twice a day at primary school. Now that I’ve learned I’m pregnant I hope I will soon start to receive the meals at home. When fortified porridge was distributed initially, my children benefited a lot because they were consistently gaining weight, which we could see whenever we went to the clinic. They still look healthy up to now.
I’m grateful that we have the garden boxes because now I don’t have to search for vegetables. It will be easy for me, especially now while I’m pregnant. I’m growing cucumbers and they are still in the early stages. I also love cucumber very much and I know they have very important vitamins for our bodies. I would also be happy if RCP helped us with raising chickens and how to professionally keep them to get eggs and sell the surplus.
What parts of the RCP Program are most important to you, Zajaneth?
Actually, I love everything because it’s all important. My life is very different now that I’m aware of a lot of things I never knew before, for instance, hygiene and nutrition. This has changed my life a lot. With implementing good hygiene practices, my family is healthy, and good nutrition has helped our children. I also love home visits because it gives me freedom to express myself and ask questions more than when I am with other people in the workshop.
The opening of the Ipalamwa General Clinic has removed worries about getting health services because they give you the real picture of what you’re suffering. In other dispensaries, we were just treated by guessing without being diagnosed, which used to cause more problems. That is why I am very happy that we have the clinic. It is really helpful.
“The services at the Ipalamwa General Clinic are great and they are incomparable with other dispensaries around the village.”– Zajaneth Kavindi, RCP mom
“Actually, I love everything about the program because everything is important. My life is very different because I’m now aware of a lot of things that I never knew before.”– Zajaneth Kavindi, RCP mom
What worries you, and what are you most proud of as a family?
Sometimes there are not enough crops to sell anything, and we don’t have any income. But we always work hard to make sure everything in the family goes well. In a few years to come, we are planning to build another house because the one we have now is small. I’m proud of my family and I love them because we are at peace.
To learn about the RCP Program and families in the Ukwega Ward, choose from the archive here.
Learn more Zajaneth’s family in this interview with her sister, Sharifa: