Fathers Fight Against Malnutrition


In Northeast Nigeria, children are primarily raised by women. The fathers’ groups that Action Against Hunger has formed are changing that. Each month, the fathers gather together in groups to discuss how they can help their families improve nutrition and health. They also pledge to work towards healthy hygiene practices, safe sanitation practices, and good nutrition practices in their communities. These groups have brought together thousands of men who want to make a difference for the future generation.

Photo credit: Judith Sambe Owoicho for Action Against Hunger, Nigeria

Hassan’s Story: Advocating for Children

At his most recent meeting of his fathers’ group, Hassan learned about malnutrition and how to identify it through the use of an MUAC arm band. He quickly made it his mission to ensure that no child in his community suffers from malnutrition.

Photo credit: Judith Sambe Owoicho for Action Against Hunger, Nigeria

“The tape is very easy to use," he says. "It has color codes—green for healthy, yellow for caution, and red for malnourished. “I went from house to house, and eventually I found a child who was malnourished.” He referred the boy to one of the Action Against Hunger-supported hospitals in the community for treatment and spoke with the boy’s parents about the importance of adding complementary foods to their children’s diets. After a month of treatment, the boy had recovered and was out of the danger zone.

Idris’ Story: The quick-learner

After Idris Yusuf learned about the danger of malnutrition in his fathers’ group, he took his MUAC band home to measure his own children. He was surprised to see his son Ahmed was in the red zone, thus severely malnourished. Because of the lessons he learned in the fathers’ group, Idris quickly got his son treated and is once again a healthy child.

“My life has changed a lot. I’m happier now that my children can easily access fruits, I no longer have to buy onions, eggplants and Sukuma so I’m able to save money for other household expenses and for educating my children. My children are healthy, and they no longer frequently get sick as they used to.”

In her role as a volunteer, Poni shares what she learned with her neighbors, showing them how to plant and help their crops grow.

Poni George

Since COVID-19 hit, humanitarian support has been reduced due to movement restrictions, limited supplies, and funding issues. Rebeca had to find other ways of feeding my children.

“I’m grateful to Action Against Hunger for the seeds that they distributed to us. I have planted many of them as you can see, the fruit trees we planted last year have all matured and my children enjoy eating them.”

Through learning skills through Action Against Hunger’s agriculture training program. She’s been able to grow crops like Sukuma wiki, passion fruit, pawpaw trees, onions, and sweet potatoes. She has also helped her neighbors set up their own gardens.

Rebecca Buol Makech

Laker learned how to cultivate mushrooms in 2019. Her business took off, and her success has inspired many of her neighbors. When COVID-19 hit, the lockdown in Uganda affected her mushroom growing - she could not access the raw materials, particularly the mushroom spawn, needed for production.

“From my mushroom savings, I bought a few vegetable seeds and, with the help from Action Against Hunger staff, we set up nursery beds of onions and Sukuma wiki… My vegetables are doing so well. Together with my children, we set up more nursery beds, I hope to sell the surplus from my harvest and invest more in my mushroom production.”

Laker Lucy

Read more at Action Against Hunger