Mbeya, Njombe and Iringa, where Thecla is from, are the three southern regions of Tanzania with the worst record for undernutrition and therefore the focus of the SUN programme.
We don't usually associate Tanzania with low temperatures, but this area of the country endures an extremely cold season due to its high elevation. And this makes it a very difficult place to grow food. The resulting dietary limitations were startling, according to Caroline Baker who oversaw the SUN programme for Concern. She noted:
Before Concern started working on nutrition in the region, many people’s entire diet consisted of only two foods – cassava and beans! Apart from how boring this would get meal after meal, there were serious health implications, particularly for infants and young children.
Through care group visits, education sessions and counselling, this programme and other Concern projects in the area, have supported communities to learn about the benefits of breastfeeding and diversifying their diet. Our teams have also helped participants to put nutrition theory into practice by creating kitchen gardens containing a variety of nutritious vegetables and building solar driers to preserve food for the lean season.