Naw Eh Mwei Phaw’s Story: Kitchen Gardens Boost Nutrition Rates

In Myanmar’s South Eastern Kayin State, children and pregnant mothers suffer from malnutrition and access to proper health services. 17% of 1.5 million people living in the Kayin State fall below the poverty line. Of an estimated 648,974 children living in the area, 15% are recorded as underweight, and 30% suffer from stunting.

In Ta Di Kho village located outside Hlaingbwe Township in central Kayin, Naw Eh Mwei Phaw, her husband and her 4 year old daughter were selected to participate in one of ADRA Myanmar’s Health and Nutrition projects called EMBRACE ‘Enhancing Mother/Newborn/Child Health in Remote Areas Through Health Care and Community Engagement’ funded and supported by Global Affairs Canada and ADRA Canada.

The EMBRACE project aims to improve nutrition rates and increase access to appropriate health services for pregnant mothers and children. A key activity in the project is teaching mothers how to grow kitchen gardens and conducting cooking demonstrations in order to increase the range of vegetables available and the knowledge in cooking nutritious meals to feed their families.

When Eh Mwei Phaw received training, she and her husband began construction on their own kitchen garden outside their family home using seeds provided by the project and the natural resources available in their village. Eh Mwei Phaw was also taught how to regenerate her garden from cuttings and kitchen scraps to ensure future produce. Vegetables high in iron, potassium and vitamins such as morning glory, tomatoes, chi qua, eggplant and squash now all grow in Eh Mwei Phaw’s garden, vegetables that previously were unavailable in the area.

Through the cooking demonstrations, Eh Mwei Phaw learnt healthy cooking by cutting out unnecessary fats, stop using flavour enhancers such as ajinimoto (a type of salt), and learnt how to cook with a wider variety of nutritious vegetables.

Eh Mwei Phaw and her family are appreciative with the training they received now boasting the grandest garden in their village through which they are able to share its produce with other families and transfer their skills.

Written By: Emma McCrow, Communications Officer

Photo: © 2017 ADRA | Emma McCrow and Frank Spangler