The Ministry for Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) launched the “1,000-Days in the Thousands Hills” nutrition campaign in refugee camps. The official launch was held in Kiziba camp in Karongi District in the Western province.
The introduction of nutrition campaign in refugee camps is in accordance with the community based integrated approach introduced by MIDIMAR for all services involved in refugee affairs.
“We have introduced community integrated approach whereby programs meant to benefit refugees have to also benefit local communities and programs for citizens’ development benefit refugees. Thus, refugees have to be sensitized on fighting malnutrition as others citizens through the 1000 Days in the Thousand Hills campaign” said Minister Seraphine Mukantabana .
The campaign, which began in September 2013, aims at combating malnutrition. It is designed to provide children 1000 days of sufficient nutrition from a mother’s womb up to the age of two years. The campaign targets children under five, pregnant and lactating mothers as well as school children.
Kiziba camp hosts 16,461 refugees, most of whom are Congolese. Children under five years of age are 2,354 and 689 children between six and 23 months. The level of chronic malnutrition in the camps is 33.5 per cent.
The 1,000 Days campaign is expected to reduce malnutrition and stunting in refugee camps through nutrition programs.
Different programs meant to combat malnutrition in refugee camps have been established. They include rabbit breeding and set up of kitchen gardens in refugee camps
In Kiziba camp, 315 kitchen gardens were set up and 151 families received rabbits.
Under the support of World Food Program (WFP) all pregnant mothers and children of under two years of age are entitled to a supplementary food in order to fight stunting in all refugee camps.
There are five refugee camps in Rwanda – Mugombwa in Gisagara District, Gihembe in Gicumbi District, Nyabiheke, Kiziba and Kigeme.
These camps host 72,856 refugees; most of them are from DR Congo.
The 1000 Days campaign will be implemented in all five camps as well as the country’s transit holding centres.
“During this campaign, refugees will be sensitized on initiating homegrown activities like small-scale farming, live stock and programs for the amelioration of nutrition status,” said Minister Mukantabana Seraphine