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Congo - Food and Nutrition Program

Congo - Food and Nutrition Program

Breaking the Bondage of Poverty

“Malnutrition weakens the immune system and increases susceptibility to illness. Illness, in turn, worsens malnutrition, creating a downward spiral.” The World Health Organization highlights the importance of nutrition during the first 1000 days of life (the period between conception and a child’s 2nd birthday). If a child isn’t properly nourished by the age of five, the child can suffer irreversible mental and physical limitations for the rest of their life. This often results in a similar fate for their own children, which continues the cycle of poverty, malnutrition, and disease.

Although it is a complex scenario for resource-poor families, with many factors involved, we do know that boosting nutrition (especially before the age of five) can have benefits that last a lifetime.

In order to break this negative spiral, our nutrition program has a multifaceted approach:  by establishing food security, access to medical care, employment, and education, families can be freed from the bonds of poverty. However, our ultimate goal is not just to alleviate the temporary suffering in this world, but for people to find true freedom in Christ. 

Gardening

The Garden

Career missionary, Jesse Mitchell (www.missiongo.org/mitchell)has set up a large demonstration garden at our mission station in Impfondo, Republic of Congo. This garden produces local varieties of fruits and vegetables. It also contains test plots of different seed varieties to investigate the viability of new plant species that could be grown in the harsh environment of equatorial Africa.

Jesse has hired a group of local young men to help him in the garden. They are learning about growing new varieties of tropical vegetables and earning some money which allows them to continue their education. Jesse also mentors the young men by teaching them cooking techniques, small business training, and is introducing them to the Gospel along the way.

The Community Nutrition Program

Anne Kimwanga (www.missiongo.org/kimwanga) is a missionary from the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a trained nurse who is fluent in the language and culture of Congo, Mama Anne (as she is referred to by the locals) is able to connect with local women and form personal relationships with those in need. Mama Anne leads a community nutrition program that provides nourishing meals to children suffering from malnutrition. The children come to the mission station every morning and evening for feedings.  Along with these meals, Mama Anne provides medical screening, nutrition training to the mothers, and the Gospel to the children and their families.

She regularly tells people that “good nutritious food doesn’t have to be expensive.  There are lots of cheap and easy things we can get and cook for our kids. Unfortunately, most people just don’t know about them.”  Through Jesse’s garden and Mama Anne’s teaching, we are hoping to add vitality to our nutrition program for the community.

Produce grown from the demonstration garden (described above) is used in the preparation of meals. Mothers are offered simple training in micro-agriculture and are provided with plant starters to continue combating malnutrition in the home. 

Candice Scatliff (www.missiongo.org/scatliff)  is a stateside missionary nutritionist who frequently visits Congo. She is the third member of the team. She provides nutrition consultation and program support, along with arranging logistics for needed supplies.

Candice and Jesse Cooking
The Need

All three missionaries on this team are funded by faithful supporters, like you. In addition to these funds, the program requires funding for supplies; such as seeds, medical screening equipment, additional food items needed from the local market; to cover wages of the teenage boys and Mama Anne’s helper; and an emergency medical fund to financially assist families in need of further medical care. This program needs 10 families committing $100/month to sustain and grow this ministry. 

By connecting and meeting people’s needs through food security, education, employment, and medical care, they can be freed from the bondage of poverty and introduced to ultimate freedom in Christ.

Will you prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? We need monthly supporters as well as one-time givers. Your gift of any amount will be used to share the Gospel through feeding the people of Congo.