By Lorraine Anyango
“Have you ever used SUKUMA for baking? In Kenya, it is probably one of the vegetables we eat with ugali.” Ms. Kumiko Ohno said in the opening remarks of her presentation.
“Cakes made with vegetables are very popular in Japan, this is because vegetables are nutritious and good for you.” She added.
“And this cake is useful for children who do not like vegetables, as you know, SUKUMA is very nutritious and is the king of vegetables.” She explained her new creative way further
“I have added peanuts, which are also very nutritious, with this cake you can take four food groups at once. For example, if you eat it with milk tea, you can get five food groups.” She added.
She plans to introduce SUKUMA CAKE, at the community level to groups of breastfeeding mothers and at local primary schools in Home Science cooking classes.
She will be working to spread her newly discovered delicacy at her workplace- Ahero Sub County Hospital as she works together with community health workers (CHW).
Kumiko alias ‘Akinyi’ a Japanese working with JICA under the Ministry of Health in Ahero for the last eight months, says she has a big dream that will change Kenyans’ perception of sukuma wiki and the attitude towards the consumption of vegetables.
“If I can find a bakery or restaurant supermarket that chooses to sell this SUKUMA CAKE to promote it, I will gladly teach them how to make it. If anyone wants to learn, I will be happy to visit them if they provide me with the ingredients and a kitchen…… Tuko pamoja!!? He added.
She continues to make nutritious menus using ingredients that are easily available in all parts of Kisumu County.
Kumiko is one among 30 nutrition champions that graduated today from training through the Advance Nutrition project being implemented by Save the Children International and funded by USAID which is working closely with the County Nutrition Department.
And her idea is also one amongst many that the nutrition champions come up with, with fresh zeal to combat malnutrition within Kisumu.
This second cohort of nutrition champions is drawn from the community with the inclusion of the clergy, farmers, the business fraternity, and even community health workers.
During a three days training that climaxed on 22nd June 2022 at Ciala Resort, the nutrition champions made work plans that will see them sensitize churches to set up breastfeeding spaces within their sanctuaries for lactating mothers and grow kitchen gardens within their compounds using the innovations, such as conical gardens and moist beds as well.
The churches will also be sensitized to give nutritious snacks to children and not just juice and biscuits as has been the norm.
The hotels will be sensitized to have signature traditional nutritious meals as well as use all available platforms to encourage their clients to pay for nutritious meals, “We have already spoken to some hotels to include nutrition values of the meals as they are serving in creative ways to influence the client to prioritize nutritious meals.” Mrs Emmie Adeti Otieno said.
While opening the training, the CEC member for Agriculture, Fisheries, and livestock, Mr. Gilgrest Okuom admonished the champions to be practicing ambassadors of what they will be teaching the community.
“You can’t be overweight and expect to caution people on the dangers of obesity, you can’t talk about kitchen gardens, yet you are not growing them your selves. He emphasized.
While closing the training, the AG deputy CEO, Jaramogi Odinga Oginga Teaching and Referral Hospital, Dr. Edwin Odour advised the champions not to consume non-nutritious meals because they are cheap and end up paying fortunes in medical bills because they have acquired sickness out of their feeding habits.
This training is part of the multi-sectoral nutrition (MSN) approach currently being championed in Kisumu County led by the County Nutrition Co-Ordinator, Mrs. Rael Mwando.
The first lot of champions trained were drawn from sub-county nutrition officers and selected officers from the nutritional aligned departments, they are currently undertaking an assessment on the nutrition situation within their areas of jurisdiction.