Reaching Children’s Potential in Tanzania: Welcoming New Moms to the Program in June
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 nine new moms — some of whom are expecting — to the RCP “family” this month.
Ester Msamba was born and raised in Makungu village, where she completed primary education. She has two children: Frank, age 3, and Prince, age 7 months. She lives with her parents and her two children in Makungu. Easter works in fields for a living. She says she decided to join the RCP Program as she hopes to gain additional knowledge on parenting, especially since she has a baby right now. “I heard the RCP Program offers services free of charge and helps children to reach their potential. I also heard moms are learning different things. I hope to learn new skills and knowledge and to have healthy and happy children,” Easter says. She says one of the most important values in her culture is to respect elders.
Julieth Makilika is 27 years old. She is originally from Isagwa, but has lived in Makungu village since she was a child. She completed primary school in Makungu. She lives with her husband, Hezron, and is pregnant with her first child, who is due in October. Julieth depends on agriculture for a living. She says her greatest health concerns are that she feels fatigued and has back pain. Julieth decided to join the RCP Program because she hopes to have a healthy child and be a good mom. “I’m very interested to be part of the RCP Program. I saw that other moms who joined the program are so happy and their children are doing great. I decided I needed to become a member of the RCP Program to get more information as I heard that there are workshops, women’s coops where you can learn entrepreneur skills, hand-washing stations, delivery free of charge at the Ipalamwa General Clinic, and nutritious food. I heard that the program is focusing on fighting malnutrition in children.” Julieth says she is thrilled to have joined the program. She says that one of the most important values in her culture is to live with love, peace, and respect for everyone in the society and show cooperation with people in the community.
Yolanda Kahemela is a mother from Ukwega village, where she completed primary school. She was born in June 2000 and is married and lives with her husband. They depend on agriculture for a living, growing food and selling the surplus to make money. They have two children: Makusilo (age 3 years) and Yoashi (age 3 months). Yolanda says she has heard a lot about the RCP Program from her friends. She has heard that program is very helpful to moms and children, she says, and that volunteers come to help with the program as well. “I saw how my friend’s child, Miriam, was helped by the program so much. Miriam was not able to crawl or walk. When the volunteers came, they helped Miriam’s mother by teaching her types of exercise to do. After that, Miriam was able to take her first steps. I’m so interested in getting support from the RCP Program and learning different skills.” Yolanda explains that she wants to give her newborn different experiences. She has seen that other children in her village are “growing so fast and happy”, and she wants this for her children as well. “I have seen that the RCP Caregivers are conducting home visits with families and helping children, and I want that, too. Also, I’ve seen my friend when the RCP Caregiver visits her and they go over a book and discuss different things. Honestly, I need to learn more.”
Evalina Kimata is a mother of three who was born and raised in Makungu village. She and her husband, Zebadayo, depend on agriculture during harvesting season for a living. Their oldest child is Laika, who is 20, followed by Pray God (age 12), and Betina (age 6). Evalina is also expecting. She explains that that was her motivation to join the RCP Program: “I decided to join the program because I want to experience the difference that it has made. Now that I am pregnant, I think it will be important for raising a healthy child. I think I will learn more about issues related to parenting, nutrition, and raising children well. I had never been taught anything about parenting anywhere; we just raise our children based on the experience of our parents and grandparents, and by seeing how others do it.” Evalina shares that her hope is to learn more and to have an intelligent child due to what she gains from the RCP Program. She says that an important value in her culture is to avoid conflict with others, especially during pregnancy.
Lenifrida Kikoti is from Makungu village, where she completed primary school last year. She is 16 years old and is expecting her first child in October. She lives with her parents in Makungu and says she decided to join the RCP Program because she wanted to learn about how to raise a healthy child. “I have heard the RCP Program helps pregnant women and children. The program provides free services at the Ipalamwa General Clinic, accommodations for pregnant women to stay at the guest house, workshops, and home visits. I need to be part of it so I can learn and help the baby I am expecting to grow well.” Lenfrida says she hopes to stay at the guest house before her baby arrives and to have a safe delivery at the Ipalamwa General Clinic. She also hopes to learn about parenting skills.
Froida Chavala is an expecting mother from Ukwega village, where she was born and raised and completed secondary school. She has one daughter, Grace, who is five years old, and is expecting her second child in July. She works in agriculture and sells fruits during harvesting seasons. Froida explains that she joined the RCP Program to learn new things and have a healthy child. “I saw other moms who are in the RCP Program learning a lot and receiving benefits from RCP such as hand-washing stations and nutritious porridge. I hope to acquire additional skills and knowledge about parenting.”
Suzana Myumbo is a mother from Ukwega village, where she completed primary school and some secondary classes. She is 23 years old and married. Her first child is Brown, who is four years old, and her daughter, Sarafina, was born at the beginning of June. She and her husband depend on agriculture and sometimes other labor jobs. She shared that she is concerned because her son, Brown, often has the stomach flu. Suzana explains why she decided to join the RCP Program: “I decided to join the RCP Program after learning about what the program does. I was so happy to know the aims of the RCP Program and the services provided in it. RCP Caregivers came to talk to me about the program and my husband was interested, too. I hope to attend RCP workshops that will help me to raise my child well and to have an active child and a healthy baby. Also, in the future I hope to be a good mom when I have other children, if God wishes.”
Emiliana Nyamoga is a mother from Mkalanga village who was born in May 1989. She completed secondary school in Ukwega in 2007. She is married and she and her husband have two children: Greison (age 11) and Gress (age 10). She is expecting their third child in December. She and her husband depend on agriculture for a living. Emiliana says, “I am overjoyed to join the RCP Program. I have heard about the things that other moms have learned in the program and the services they have received. I heard the RCP Program focuses on the first 1,000 days of life. Other moms have told me their children are healthy and they receive nutritious porridge from RCP. Also, I heard from my friend who is a member of the women’s coop that she learned entrepreneurship skills and how to make liquid soap. I hope to become a member of the coop and learn more.” Emiliana also shares that she hopes to attend RCP workshops, receive nutritious porridge, and have a safe delivery at the Ipalamwa General Clinic.
Lidia Kikoti is expecting her first child in October. Lidia was born in June 2004 in Mkalanga village, where she completed primary school. She lives with her parents. Lidia explains that she heard from her friend that the RCP Program focuses on helping pregnant moms and children grow healthy. She explains, “Then, I heard more about the program from RCP Caregivers. I decided to join the program because I want to learn to take care of myself and my baby during my pregnancy and raise my child well. I really don’t know anything about parenting.” Lidia says she hopes to learn many new things in the program.
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 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.
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