Every month, Global Volunteers’ caregivers in the Ukwega Ward of Tanzania meet with families who wish to participate in the Reaching Children’s Potential (RCP) Demonstration Program. The goal of RCP is to eliminate childhood stunting in all five of the villages served: Ipalamwa, Makalanga, Lulindi, Ukwega, and Makungu. Specifically, families obtain the nutrition, health care, knowledge, technology, and encouragement needed to combat stunting, and to ensure their children can realize their full potential. We’re happy to welcome five new moms to the RCP “family”.
Elizabeth Kikoti was born and raised in Ipalamwa village, where she completed primary education. After that, she went to Dodoma to work as house maid for a year. She is currently expecting her first child. Elizabeth’s father passed away last year. She doesn’t currently have any source of income but is trying to get involved in agricultural activities. She decided to join the RCP Program to learn more about healthy pregnancy and how to raise healthy children. She was motivated to join because her young sister, Monica, had a child, Naymer, who was very stunted. “The RCP Caregivers used to come to our home to teach my sister how to feed her child, how to take care of him, and advised her to go to the Ipalamwa General Clinic for checkups. I personally witnessed how my nephew moved from critical condition to normal condition and overcame his stunting. Honestly, from many others I have heard about the RCP Program and that it is so helpful.” Elizabeth says she is excited to participate in the workshops and the parents’ club that she has heard about and receive nutritious meals and free services at the Ipalamwa General Clinic. She says she hopes to have a safe delivery at the Ipalamwa General Clinic, to learn more about children’s growth and development, to use a hand-washing station at home, and reap the “many benefits of being a member of RCP”. She hopes that her child “will do wonders at school and in life” because of what she will learn about caring for children in RCP.
Paulina Mbata was born in Ipalamwa, where she studied, and last year she got married in Makungu village. Paulina is currently expecting her first child and is due in June. She and her husband depend on agriculture for a living. She shared that her greatest health concern is that she feels fatigued and often suffers from a lack of appetite. Paulina hopes to learn new things about pregnancy. She has a friend in the program and says she decided to join because she saw that her friend was benefitting so much by receiving meals, getting services at the Ipalamwa General Clinic, and through other aspects of the program. She says, “I heard the RCP Program supports children and pregnant women. I also heard there is free accommodation and meals at the guest house for moms who want to deliver at the Ipalamwa General Clinic and that they are helped with transportation and if there is any complication during delivery.” Paulina says she hopes to stay at the guest house prior to the delivery of her first child in June, and she hopes to have a healthy child because she is eating Rise Against Hunger meals and paying attention to her nutrition during her pregnancy. She says, “The caregivers have used their flipcharts to teach me more information about nutrition and breastfeeding, and I feel happy and well prepared. I hope to become a good mom and that my child will be happy.”
Senida Ngusi was a born and raised in Makungu village, where she completed primary school. She is married and has two children: Christina (age 26 and who is her adopted niece after Senida’s sister passed away) and Allen (age 5). Her family depends on agriculture for a living and sometimes Senida makes baskets to sell in the village. Senida is currently seven months pregnant and says she is so happy to join the RCP Program. She says, “I heard the RCP Program focuses on helping children and pregnant women. I have heard about the hand-washing stations, the home visits by the RCP Caregivers to help moms, and how children learn from volunteers at the English camps.” Senida has two friends in the program. She says she hopes to gain more knowledge on raising children and to receive meals so that her baby can grow healthier and happy.
Ofelia Nkanawa was born and raised in Kimala, but now lives in Mkalanga, close to her relatives. She has three children: Atulida (age 10), Amelin (age 7), and Eston (age 6). She is currently expecting her fourth child, due in a month. Ofelia depends on agriculture for a living. She has heard that the RCP Program helps children and pregnant women, especially through workshops to teach moms additional skills on how to best raise their children. She has also heard about nutritious meals and hand-washing stations, and says she decided to join the program to learn more about parenting and how to raise healthy children. “I hope to have healthier children and learn many things from the RCP Program. Also, I hope to stay at the guest house next month before I deliver my baby.”
Asha Msigala was born in Ilula, where she was raised by her relatives. There, she became a seamstress. She now lives in Mkalanga village. She has four children: William (age 10), Eze (age 7), Sarah (age 5), and Neema (age 2 months). She and her husband work in agriculture for a living and sometimes her husband does labor jobs. Asha says she has heard the RCP Program helps mothers, children, and pregnant women. She decided to join the program because she has seen that it is very helpful for families and creating a better future for them. She says that she was impressed with the attention she received with her newborn, Neema. Asha had given birth at home, but then Neema was ill. Asha took her newborn daughter to the Ipalamwa General Clinic, where Neema stayed for a few days until she was well again. “The staff at the Ipalamwa General Clinic treated me very well, which motivated me to become part of the RCP Program.” Asha says she hopes to be a better mom in the future and that her children will grow in good health. She says that an important cultural value that her community has is that they pray for the deceased around their tombs and make offerings. This gives people blessings and a happy life.
About RCP’s Focus on Stunting:
Stunting is the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psycho-social stimulation. Children are defined as stunted if their height-for-age is more than two standard deviations below the World Health Organization’s Child Growth Standards median. Global Volunteers’ RCP Program is a child-focused, parent-driven, family-centered, and community-led comprehensive effort beginning with pregnancy and continuing through the 18th birthday, focusing on the first 1,000 days of life. Ending stunting is the goal of the RCP Program in the Ukwega Ward in central Tanzania. Learn more here.
You can help Elizabeth, Paulina, Senida, Ofelia, Asha, and nearly 600 other RCP mothers learn how to enable their children to reach their full potential. Support Global Volunteers’ RCP Program with a monthly or one-time gift now, and join a future service program to bring important resources to families in the Ukwega Ward.