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Healthy Households and Nutrition

Good nutrition and sustainable food security depend on three cornerstones: increasing the availability of healthy foods, expanding household purchasing power, and broadening nutritional knowledge.

Increasing Availability of Healthy Foods

Understanding that agriculture cannot progress without healthy households, we work with our clients to diversify and increase production to improve the overall health of rural families through better quality diets and higher incomes. Through home gardens, small-scale livestock production, and crop diversification, we give farmers the ability to meet their nutritional needs and ensure healthy foods are readily available in local markets. Our cutting-edge production techniques are continually evolving to increase yields of nutrient-rich crops including vegetables, fruits, and grains. In Cambodia, for example, we trained 10,000 households on best practices for small gardens, which helped them increase productivity by 170 percent and incomes by 150 percent.

Expanding Household Purchasing Power

With increased incomes, families are able to buy healthy foods that are often more expensive than traditional staple crops. Through the adoption of good agricultural practices, farmers increase both yields and sales, allowing them to purchase a wider variety of healthy foods. After seeing the impact of Fintrac-promoted practices firsthand – and feeling it in their pockets – our clients are more likely to trust our advice in other areas, particularly health and nutrition trainings and recommendations. In Tanzania, the introduction of orange-fleshed sweet potato increased incomes by 188 percent per hectare and drove up demand for this vitamin- and mineral-rich crop.

Broadening Nutritional Knowledge

Fintrac trains all members of the household in best nutritional practices, including enhancing staple foods such as tortillas with leafy greens, teaching proper breastfeeding techniques, and monitoring ideal caloric intake. We monitor childhood growth and help parents understand the best types of foods to combat malnutrition in young children. We work with students to build their own school gardens. And to extend our reach, we train local volunteers in basic nutrition concepts, empowering them to conduct training in their own communities. In Kenya, we developed a nutrition toolkit for the Kenyan government to facilitate nationwide efforts to reduce malnutrition.

Linking Health to Agriculture

We place health specialists alongside our expert agronomists to deliver behavior change health messages in combination with technical assistance on good agricultural practices. Our health and nutrition managers collaborate with field technicians on a daily basis, working together to teach client farmers the importance of drip irrigation and raised beds, as well as water quality and hygiene. In addition to linking health messages with technical assistance, Fintrac partners with community-based health organizations that have long-standing relationships with the vulnerable communities we serve.

Improving Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene (WASH)

Many smallholders in communities where Fintrac works have limited access to clean water and basic sanitation, making them vulnerable to illness and disease. As part of our integrated methodology, we incorporate WASH activities into our programs to prevent water-borne disease and improve overall health. We help local partners and communities construct hand washing stations and latrines, strengthen the capacity of community water boards, and implement solid waste management practices. Fintrac also incorporates on-farm natural resource management activities to maintain healthy soils, prevent contamination, and conserve water. For example, in Honduras, we helped communities introduce simple and inexpensive chlorine tablets, and within two to three months, they were reporting zero traces of harmful bacteria.

Addressing Disease

Our agricultural projects integrate prevention and treatment education for diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. We link local health organizations to farmers, building their capacity and client base. We also work with commercial farms – from producers to processors – to advocate for the adoption of policies that help minimize the possibility of infection and ensure a healthy and supportive work environment. As part of our focus on engaging youth and improving nutrition, Fintrac helps build and maintain school gardens for orphans and vulnerable children.

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