Cooperative Members’ Nutrition Assessment: Protein Choices and Opportunities

Preparing rice with child on back

Preparing rice with child on back.

Benedicto Marinas had a two month assignment and worked in four villages: Bougouni, Klé, Solla-Bougouda (Sikasso region), and Molondo (Ségou region). His assignment included both the assessment of the nutritional eating habits of the participants, especially children age 6 months to 5 years; presentations on nutrition; and interactive cooking activities using local products often from the participants’ own community gardens. He worked with more than 200 farmers, of which over half were women, but men and elders enthusiastically participated, too.

During the training workshops, Benedicto built the capacity of the participants in cooking new recipes based on local ingredients available in the village or at low cost at the market.This included dishes such as: “corn plain round flat cake” with fresh corn, powder corn, eggs, onion leaves, sugar, water, and shea butter. The standard meals for families are corn porridge, or corn paste with tomatoes and onion or okra sauce for both breakfast and dinner.

Fresh corn and Moringa leaf dish

Fresh corn and Moringa leaf dish

The chief of the village, Mr. Djeka Mariko, 69 years old, said:

“Benedicto, you are a benediction for Solla-Bougouda by coming so far and training to make healthy, delicious, nutritious and cheap meals. Henceforth this dish will be my breakfast in replacement of my usual corn porridge.”
Benedicto: “The biggest effect of my assignment on a personal level is the discovery that this kind of work can be so fulfilling it can be addictive; I want to do it again and again.”

Benedicto also worked with young adults at the agro-pastoral school, CAA-Samanko, on the importance of nutrition. Evaluation of their breakfast, lunch and dinner showed that they ate from limited food options, similar to villagers, even though they had access to more variety and could afford to pay for more than two sodas per day.

Recipe example: Corn salad is highly nutritious and easy to make. It contains carbohydrate from the maize, vitamin A from carrot and tomatoes, protein from the egg and lipid from oil.

Boil corn to soften for 15 minutes. Mix with chopped green pepper, onions and carrot. Season with black pepper and salt. Add homemade mayonnaise. Mix well and enjoy.