Serving The Community’s Nutritional Needs

Ekukhanyeni has successfully established a sustainable infrastructure for adult community members to gain valuable skills in permaculture to bring about greater food and nutrition security for all concerned. Educators, care-givers, mothers and other community members who form part of the child support network have been targeted in order to build capacity and to facilitate the sustainable development processes that are so essential to the success of the project.

Permaculture and its benefits are at the core of the Ekukhanyeni project. An eco-friendly permaculture programme has been set up to promote and encourage good permaculture practices for producing food, managing health, nutrition and natural resources. Environmental awareness education and conservation is at the heart of this approach. An established central network of crèches utilizes Permaculture design to enable toxin free and naturally grown food, herb and medicinal garden systems. Representatives from each creche have been identified and trained to implement and sustain these garden systems at their crèches which provides added nutrition to the children’s daily needs.

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When it comes to nutrition, plant-based health care is the buzzword. As part of the Ekukhanyeni initiative to teach the community about the importance of nutrition that will help those with HIV/AIDS and in turn supplement the childrens’ dietary needs, the food gardens are developed to incorporate herb and medicinal plants. Plant-based health care management and functional nutritional workshops are offered to the core group of care-givers as well as to the wider community.

Ekukhanyeni’s holistic approach to HIV/AIDS increases the options available to people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA), especially in such deprived socio-economic communities. HIV compromises the nutritional status of infected individuals, and malnutrition in turn can worsen the effects of the disease. Nutrition interventions can help break this cycle by helping PLWHA to manage symptoms, reduce susceptibility to opportunistic infections, improve nutritional status, promote response to medical treatment, and improve overall quality of life

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