Refugee communities in Yumbe take up nutritious beans to boost diets

The Legumes Research Program is intensifying promotional activities for biofortified bean for vulnerable populations. As part of the Feed the Future Agriculture Research Activity, the team is currently front-lining a nutritious composite porridge – Super Kawomera – whose main ingredient is beans rich in iron and zinc.

Through the project, the beans are making entry into Bidi-bidi and Nakivale refugee camps to help in addressing hunger and malnutrition especially among children below 5 years and mothers. This October 2022, they introduced the beans and the porridge made out of it to refugee communities in Yumbe District.

Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa according to the UNHCR 2020 Global Trends Report, with some 1.4 million people mainly from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and over 860,000 of these are children.

Today, Bidi-bidi hosts 270,000 South Sudan refugees and due the economic slow-down, it is becoming hard to sustainably support them. According to Isaac Muggaga, a Research Officer at NaCRRI, the beans intervention is timely to complement on-going efforts to provide relief to this community.

“Malnutrition is very high in Bidi-bidi, standing at 44.3% for children under 5 and 37% of reproductive age. Our products are targeted at ensuring that these statistics are brought to normal,” Muggaga says.

On October 12th-14th 2022, the team sensitized and distributed Super Kawomera (An instant, nutritive porridge) to 46 children of 6-59 Months with severe anemia; 56 female  and 86 caregivers and health workers in Bangatuti and Koro Health Center IIIs.

In collaboration with Nutreal Limited-the supplier of the composite porridge, NARO is also identifying other development partners working in Bidi-bidi to leverage synergies and scale Super-Kawomera to quickly reach the people the most need it around the camp.

“This porridge has a high potential demand given the testimonies by those who have tried it the first time we pre-tested it in this camp,” Muggaga noted NARO is currently considering a partnership with the International refugee Council and are expediting and a Memorandum of Understanding with Nutreal Limited to boost the production capacity ahead of the envisaged increased in demand.

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