More than two billion people around the world lack health-giving food. Nutritional deficiencies stunt human growth and development, and can lead to mental and physical disabilities.
The Kavli Trust is accordingly giving support to the creation of 875 new vegetable gardens in the Meherpur district of Bangladesh during 2015-16. Cultivating such plots represents an effective way of strengthening the position of women living in rural poverty and their families at many levels. Combined with education and training, the gardens ensure that the immediate family gets important nutrients in its diet. This helps to prevent nutritional deficiencies, illness and needless disability, and is particularly important for the young.
The vegetable plots also give their female cultivators a chance to participate in local value creation, with the sale of surplus produce generating extra income. That makes the woman a contributor to the domestic economy and a resource for the family, strengthening her position both in the home and in the wider society.
It has been demonstrated that children who grow up in such families experience women as valuable social resources. That could lead in the longer term to a very important shift in perceptions.
The gardeners participate in group lessons on such subjects as what the various vegetables contain (vitamins, minerals and micronutrients) and why these are important for the body. They are also given demonstrations on how the vegetables can be used to prepare tasty and nutritious meals.
These educational sessions give project participants a social network and provide a secure arena for getting together with other women.
Impact Norway was established in 2002 as an independent charitable foundation and support organisation for work in the international Impact campaign against needless disability. It is one of 18 autonomous national Impact foundations linked together in the International Federation of Impact Organisations (IFIO).
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All photos: Impact Norway