Diversifying diets to address malnutrition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

By supporting children’s health from their first 1 000 days of life, FAO is sustainably strengthening the food security and nutrition of future generations and helping to achieve #ZeroHunger.

Ensuring children receive adequate nutrition in their first 1 000 days helps strengthen food security in the future. ©FAO/Catherine Claude

Deep in the equatorial forest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Iyenze family grows fresh vegetables in their garden. Georgette, mother of eight, prepares a porridge made from maize, soy, papaya and amaranth for her children to give them more of the nutrients they need; they have been suffering from severe malnutrition.

An intercommunal conflict had forced Georgette and her children to live in a forest camp for three months. After they moved back to her village of Pelenge in the Sankuru province, three of her eight children were severely malnourished. Poor sanitation and limited access to nutritious food had affected their health.

“When we got back to the village, my two-year-old son, Bokila, was very weak. His arms, legs and face had swelled a lot,” says Georgette. “We were desperate and we didn’t know where to find help.”

The Iyenzes are one of the many rural families that the FAO project, co-funded by the European Union and the Government of Belgium, is now supporting. In the Sankuru province, the project is helping to reduce the food insecurity and malnutrition of pregnant and lactating women, as well as children under five.

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