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 eight new moms — some of whom are expecting — to the RCP “family” this month.
Nuru Mhwesi was born in November 1987 in Mufindi village, where she completed secondary school. She later moved to Mkalanga village to live with her husband and his family. She was a nurse in her home village, but now depends on agriculture for a living. She has two daughters: Miriam (7 years) and Mercy (7 months). Nuru says she has heard that the RCP Program focuses on the first 1,000 days of life, conducts workshops with RCP families, distributes food and care, and conducts home visits. She says she decided to join the program because she wants to gain knowledge. “I love the program. I heard the RCP Program is helping children reach their full potential. I need my young child to gain that from RCP,” she says. Nuru adds that she hopes to feel supported by the program.
Wema Makilika was born in Kimala village in January 2000. Her family moved to Ukwega village, where she completed primary school. She depends on agriculture for a living. She is expecting her first child in January 2022. She says she has heard that the RCP Program helps children and pregnant women to have good nutrition and stay healthy. The program also helps moms have a safe delivery. Wema says she hopes to have a safe delivery at the Ipalamwa General Clinic next year. “I have joined the program so as to get knowledge on how to raise a healthy child. I’m so interested to learn more in the RCP Program. I heard there are workshops and home visits conducted by RCP Caregivers. I hope to acquire additional skills,” she says. She says one of her culture’s most important values is to respect elders.
Laifa Kavindi was born in Ipalamwa in 1983. She completed both primary and secondary school in Ipalamwa. Last year, she married Patrick Wihale, who is from Kimala village. Laifa depends on agriculture for a living. She has a seven-year-old son, Jovin, from another father. She and Patrick are expecting their first child together in January of 2022. Laifa says she has heard the RCP Program is a good program and supports children and pregnant women. She says she also heard that volunteers work with the women and RCP Caregivers. “I have joined the program to learn more. I need to know more about healthy pregnancy. My younger sister joined the program and her children look great. She and her husband have more knowledge about parenting, and I need to have all that information as well,” Laifa says. “I hope to learn more and be an example to other women,” she smiles. Laifa says her culture teaches her to always live in peace and be happy.
Lucy Kikoti was born in 2002 in Ipalamwa, where she completed primary school. She lives with her parents and is expecting her first child in October. Her sister joined the RCP Program and has told Lucy that she enjoys it so much. Lucy says, “I heard the RCP Program is providing free services to help children and pregnant women. My sister has a garden box and hand-washing station and is receiving nutritious meals. I need to learn from all of this and use the same technologies, if possible, when I get the chance. Also, I need to see my expected child live healthier and happy.” Lucy says she hopes to have a healthy pregnancy, attend RCP workshops, and receive pre- and post-natal care at the Ipalamwa General Clinic. Lucy says her culture’s most important values are to stay in the house for a month after delivery and to kneel or bend down when greeting adults.
Grace Kasuga was born in Ukwega village, where she completed primary school. She has a six-year-old daughter, Vanessa, and is expecting her second child in February 2022. She depends on agriculture for a living. She says she decided to join the program because she had heard that the RCP Program helps children and pregnant women and she was interested in learning more about that. “Also, I want to learn how to take care of my pregnancy until I give birth and how to take care of my baby. I need to have a new experience. I had a child before, but now that I’m pregnant again, I need to learn more,” Grace says. She also explains that she has heard that RCP moms and families participate in various workshops and have learned about washing their hands with soap and water. She says she has heard that the program provides nutritious food and conducts home visits with families, sometimes with volunteers. Grace says she hopes to have a safe delivery at the Ipalamwa General Clinic and receive the technologies offered in the program.
Regina Mtenga was born in 2003 in Ukwega village, where she completed primary school. She is married and lives with her husband and their six-month-old daughter, Elina. They depend on agriculture for a living, and sometimes her husband does some manual labor to earn income. Regina says that she has heard that the RCP Program offers services to children and pregnant women, teaches women different skills, helps women, and does follow up through home visits. Regina says, “I love the RCP Program because I heard the program is committed to helping women and children. Also, I’m happy to have a healthy and happy child.” She says she hopes to learn more in the program, to attend workshops, and access the free health care services at the Ipalamwa General Clinic. She says one of her culture’s most important values is to sit down when greeting elders and to dress properly.
Fainet Newani Ngalembula was born on 2001 in Mkalanga village, where she completed primary education. She lives with her parents and is currently expecting her first child. She depends on agriculture during farming season for a living – growing beans and sometimes vegetables in the field. Fainet’s parents help support her. She says she decided to join the RCP Program because she had heard that other moms love the program and the services available. She says their children look great and she has seen that young women are supported by the RCP Caregivers on how to take care of their pregnancy. Fainet says she hopes to receive services and training in the program that can help her raise her child. She says she also hopes she can stay at the guest house prior to her delivery. She hopes to have a healthy child and learn more from the program, and receive the benefits of the program such as a hand-washing station, EarthBoxes, and nutritious porridge. Fainet says that her culture teaches people to respect elders, avoid conflict with neighbors, participate in social issues, and show cooperation with other people in the community.
Betina William was born in Mwanza in March of 1997, but now lives in Mkalanga village with her husband. She completed primary school education. She and her husband depend on agriculture for a living, and her husband also has a hair cutting salon. Betina is currently expecting her first child. She shares that has heard about the RCP Program from her friends, and seen that participants receive porridge, hand-washing stations, and free medications, and that pregnant moms can go to the Ipalamwa General Clinic for prenatal care. “I want to benefit from the program and I heard sometimes the volunteers will visit me and discuss different things,” Betina said. She explains that she was motivated to join the program because the services are free and she would like to access the nutrition and health services. Betina says, “Also, I’ve noticed that my friend who joined in the program – her children look happy and health.” She hopes to go to the Ipalamwa General Clinic for prenatal care and then stay at the guest house prior to her delivery and have a safe delivery at the clinic. Betina says her greatest health concern is that she feels fatigued.
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 these and over 700 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.