Gender and nutrition can be considered as two sides of the same coin and are also priory intervention areas of the RAISE-FS project. RAISE-FS project employs a gender-sensitive approach to promote nutrition, which acknowledges the important role that women have in nutrition outcomes, as well as the need to better support them to improve their household varied diets consumption. It not only seeks to empower women to take control over nutrition-relevant resources and decision making, but also provide nutrition education to men so that they can take on a supportive role to household nutrition improvement.

RAISE-FS project jointly with Melkassa Agricultural Research Center (MARC) organized a cooking demonstration and training on gender sensitization and NSA on 2nd December 2022 at Sire Woreda in Ibseta Huduga kebele in the Farmer’s Training Center. The training focused on theoretical concepts and practical applications. The theoretical training focused on key nutrition concepts, gender and nutrition sensitive agriculture. The practical session focused on preparation and demonstration of different recipes. The training was begun by the opening and welcoming speech made by Mr. Tsegaye Dinku, woreda agricultural office head. Then, brief introduction of the RAISE FS project and objectives of the event of the day was also made by Dr. Tesfaye Letta, a team leader for Oromia Liaison office of the RAISE-FS project. 

The objectives of the cooking demonstration were to enable the farmers to gain new food preparation knowledges and skills from vegetables, common bean and mung bean, raise their awareness on food diversification/ balanced diet, to create awareness on food hygiene and safety. The training on gender and nutrition was aimed at raising awareness on gender and role of gender in nutrition sensitive agriculture.

Cooking demonstration: adding nutritional value to a traditional dish

The cooking demonstration focused on demonstrating the for preparation of different recipes from farmers produce and locally available nutrient dense food crops at community level.  It includes demonstrations on how to process ingredients into tasty meals, nutritious recipes that can be cooked from ingredients farm households have on their farm, and cooking techniques to make the most of their ingredients.

MARC has developed different food recipes from vegetables, common bean and mung bean with their cooking practices and guidelines. Among the recipes demonstrated are cooked leafy vegetables (pakchoi, kale, Chinese cabbage, amaranth), sprouted mung bean dishes, common bean shiro, common bean soup, sambussa, cookies, and mung bean wot (sauce), are the major ones.

The trainees were selected from the two kebeles, Ibseta Huduga and Koloba Bika of Sire wereda, who participated home gardening for year-round vegetable production, common bean and mung bean evaluation experiments.  Nutrition experts who facilitated the training explained the basic nutrition concepts, good nutrition practices, and food safety best practices to fight against all forms of malnutrition especially for women of reproductive age and children to participants while aiding cooking demonstration. Besides, they promoted the healthy and essential practices such as water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Then, the recipes prepared by each group were consumed by the participants at the end of the training to evaluate the taste and flavor of each recipe. 

Participant’s reflection

Participants praised the organization of the event saying they found it to be useful and delivered in such an easy way to learn nutrition, recipe preparation and food safety. They expressed their concern that to ensure sustainability of the activities, there has to be continuous capacity building, more awareness creation and better accessibility of ingredients (vegetables and common and mung bean production).

Finally, the woreda agricultural office head, Mr. Tsegaye Dinku, appreciated the training and cooking demonstration. He remarked that the event helped participants to acquire new knowledge and raise their awareness on gender role in nutrition, the well-balanced diet and how to prepare nutritious meals from locally available foods or items grown in home gardens and farm fields. 

A total number of 40 farmers (both husbands and wives per household), woreda office of agriculture head, health extension workers and development agents’ researchers and RAISE-FS staffs participated in the cooking demonstration and gender training sessions.

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