Eating local to fight malnutrition in Niger

Niger, in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Food shortages together with poor diet and lack of quality medical care have had a profound effect on the country’s children.

Today, the malnutrition rate among Niger’s children is higher than it has ever been. This jeopardizes children's development and, with it, the country’s future.

CARE International in Niger is working to help communities fight malnutrition.

The Maman Lumière (or Mother of Light) project works with women in the southeast of Niger to improve nutrition. The “Mother of Light” is a mother from the local community, recognized for her good house keeping, her children’s health and her social standing in the community. CARE works with the selected “mothers” to train them in how to manage malnutrition in their communities. The “mothers” then spends two weeks teaching malnourished children’s mothers how to treat them with what is available locally. In the cases that are severe, the children are referred to the nearest hospital.

Eight recipes have been developed, all of them nutritious and incorporating local methods and ingredients.

By far the most popular is Fura da mai, a millet porridge mixed with peanut oil.

Learn more about CARE's work to improve access to healthy food for people around the world >>