An Be Jigi II

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Outreach signage.
Photo Credit: 
Bettina Haussmann
Outreach signage.
Photo Credit: 
Bettina Haussmann
In Koutiala in Southern Mali, cotton is called white gold, a precious cash crop revered by farming communities
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
"We need to take care of our babies even before they are born. It's like when you want to have good cotton, you need to fertilize the soil to nourish the seeds for a good yield." Nutrition trainer Assa Kayentoo, uses a language that she knows her audience will relate to.
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
Only 25% of adult women are literate in Mali. "I need to visually explain the facts about nutrition to women. I describe proteins like the bricks needed to build a house - without proteins a child won't grow."
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
After the oral and visual nutrition lessons, women prepare for the communal cookery class. Handwashing is being strongly enforced in Mali since the Ebola crisis.
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
This week's menu is protein rich peanut and amaranth sauce, iron and vitamin C-rich soumbala (made from nere seeds) and wholegrain sorghum porridge.
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
The brightly pained walls of N'golobougou community health centre shows a mother feeding her baby with porridge while her uniformed daughter reading a book raises the need to send girls to school.
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
Fighting child malnutrition in this Sahelian region has always been a daunting task, with over 28% of under-five children being stunted despite being the grain basket of the country. Malnutrition is especially widespread among young children in rural areas.
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
Yet, things are changing. In January, only 1% of the 6,145 children aged 0 to 5 years old from N'golobougou and neighboring villages suffered from severe and moderate acute malnutrition.
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
AMASSA and AMEDD are two of the local NGOs running nutrition field schools as part of the An Be Jigi (meaning hope for all) initiative which targets young mothers and pregnant women, most of whom are illiterate.
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
The real stars are women like Assa and the village nutrition leaders she trains. A recently trained nutrition leader and mother of four, Aminata Sanogo, has sparked a cookery revolution in the kitchen.
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
She cooks her Tô with whole grain sorghum. Normally, women and young girls incessantly pound the sorghum grains until they are perfectly decorticated to remove the outer seed coat (bran), despite it containing about half of the grain's micronutrients.
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
"Social stigma is a big barrier to eating wholegrain," says Animata. "If you leave the bran on the grain you must be really poor as you are eating whatever you can. This has to change."
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
Aminata has been teaching women to cook sorghum differently. Bran is zinc and iron rich, but whole grains need to be prepared in certain ways to enable the nutrients to be absorbed by the body.
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
Soaking grains overnight and adding vitamin C rich local ingredients like baobab fruit and tamarind increases nutrient uptake. Data shows that these measures could help increase iron uptake in children by over 50%.
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
Eating whole grain in the right way not only means better nutrition but also frees up time for women which they then divert to childcare. So far 290 people have participated in nutrition field schools (94% women) and about 600 households have benefitted.
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
The practical culinary approach was designed by the Malian National Agricultural Research Institute, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and Helen Keller International.
Photo Credit: 
Alina and Jerome Bossuet
La photo montre Mme Djebneba Diarra, productrice dans le village de Makadjana, à Siby au Mali. Elle est membre d’un groupe de femmes à la recherche de variétés qui peut bien produire dans les conditions de sols pauvres que les familles attribuent aux femmes pour la production d'arachide. de. Le champ montre la bonne croissance des variétés proposées par la recherche sur la base de leur performance dans des conditions difficile et leur teneur élevé en fer et Zinc. Il est connu que la production agricole des femmes aux Mali est prioritairement destinée à la nutrition des enfants.
Photo Credit: 
Diaratou N'Diaye