Not a person but a porridge, Tom Brown fights malnutrition and boosts incomes in Nigeria

A porridge created from local ingredients provides nutrition and profits to crisis-affected women

FAO trained internally displaced women in northeast Nigeria to process and promote Tom Brown, a highly nutritious powder used for porridge. The powder is made from locally sourced ingredients such as fish, millet, soybeans and groundnuts.



Sometimes, a simple solution can make a world of difference. And sometimes that solution comes in an unexpected form.

Maimuna Mashalele was forced to flee her home in Gambaru Ngala and lost all her possessions in an insurgent attack on her community in 2014. Living as an internally displaced person (IDP) in Zabarmari, she had been struggling to feed her eight children.

Then in 2021, Maimuna was introduced to Tom Brown. Not a person but a porridge, Tom Brown is more precisely a traditional Nigerian food supplement produced from a blend of nutritious, local ingredients. Also known locally as Garin Kunu, the origin of the name Tom Brown is believed to come from the fact that the product is supposed to “turn brown” during preparation.

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