In the Village of Kongele, Kenya
Spent the day today visiting a project around the town of Awasi, where CDC partner agency SWAP – Safe Water and AIDS Project – is carrying out a unique vitamin project that is helping both local children and local women’s groups, who are able to sell the vitamins for a profit. It was here, in the village of Kongele, that I met Mama Sprinkles.
Mama Sprinkles – real name Berlyne Otieno – is one of the vendors in the village who sells Sprinkles, the powdered vitamin and mineral supplement for which the project is named. After purchasing the tiny packets for one shilling from SWAP, she resells them for two shillings, earning as much as 200 shillings a week – about $2.77 – right from her home. It is a small supplement to her income, but only part of what she makes selling other health and hygiene products she purchases through SWAP.
Simply by sprinkling the powdered vitamins on a child’s food each day, mothers are providing their families with a range of micronutrients often lacking in local diets. After one week, Otieno says, mothers can notice the improvement in their children’s health. From then on, the packets sell themselves. So popular have they become in fact that she says she cannot go anywhere without people stopping her to ask for Sprinkles – hence the nickname for which she is known. It was a good way to end the week down in Kisumu – a bright spot amid the many challenges facing impoverished rural residents in Kenya and beyond. Heading tomorrow back down to the Kibera slums to see, again, the other side of that coin.