Featured article in the Summer 2018 Issue of Nutrition Close-Up; written by Edith Mubanda, MA, RD, LDN, Vice President & Chief Operations Officer Trustlines Development Network, Inc.
Most of the academic research done in developing countries has the unfortunate tendency of not being adopted and applied. After reading the ENC article, “Eggs for the Nutritionally Vulnerable.”1 we at Trustlines Development Network launched a chicken and eggs project in rural Uganda.
The article cited a study by the University of Arkansas carried out in Uganda, my country of birth. The research found that adding two eggs a day to the diets of 6 to 8-year-old children in undernourished areas of rural Uganda resulted in increased height and weight.2 Another study by Washington University in St. Louis showed that feeding one egg a day (versus none) to 6 to 9-month-old infants in undernourished areas of Ecuador decreased the prevalence of stunting.3
As a registered dietitian, I know the nutritional benefits of eggs. But the assertion in the article, that egg farms can operate in rural environments and provide a low cost and sustainable source of eggs to impoverished communities, motivated and reinforced our work in rural Uganda for families to raise chickens for eggs at the subsistence level. We dubbed the program “Raising a Village-One Egg at a Time.”
We wanted a chance to implement what we knew to be true, so, I contacted ENC. Tia Rains, ENC’s previous Executive Director, recommended the International Egg Foundation (IEF) which donated $500 to purchase the chickens and eggs for nutritionally vulnerable children in rural Uganda.
We met many children, but Kevin and Slivia, stood out. Both children were displaced when their mothers died and face food insecurity issues. Kevin, 10, was left at his grandma’s doorstep at 3 months old. His father has health problems and cannot take care of Kevin.
Slivia wakes up early to make breakfast, wash dishes, clean the house, prepare lunch and supper before getting to school by 7 am. After school, she weeds the garden, fetches water from the well, collects firewood, and does chores for neighbors to earn her school fees and supplies. This list of chores is overwhelming even for an adult. Slivia, only 9, has been with her grandmother since 2 ½ years-old. The grandmother, now in her 80’s, is disabled and Slivia is responsible for taking care of her.
Slivia beamed with joy and pride as she told us the chicken we gave her laid 12 eggs in 2 weeks. Kevin was thrilled at the idea of eating eggs anytime. Our experience in rural Uganda, confirms that egg production can thrive in impoverished rural communities, be achieved at minimal cost, and is sustainable. To ensure the sustainability of the project, we earmarked the chickens and eggs as belonging to children, not the adults who might eat the chicken for dinner.
A total of 46 chickens were given to 23 families. Many more children wanted to get chickens, but we didn’t have enough for everybody. We can do more. We strive to make a meaningful and sustainable community impact. Our organization, Trustlines Development Network, Inc., helps children
One project at a time
One family at a time
One child at a time
One step at a time
One egg at a time
For more information visit www.trustlines.org
Edith Mubanda, RD is a retired public health nutrition educator who now dedicates her time educating children in Uganda, her native homeland, with hands-on sustainable self-development projects under the Trustlines Development Network.