Campaign to eradicate stunting

A non-profit organisation is on a mission to eradicate stunting by 2030.

The programme, called Flourish, runs a national campaign to educate pregnant women about a baby’s first 1 000 days.

Part of the Grow Great campaign, it involves a group of 10 pregnant women meeting once a week, either at the co-ordinator’s home, a school, community halls, or non-profit organisation’s offices, for 10 weeks.

One of the co-ordinators, Renee Johns, said stunting is caused by malnourishment, which is described as prolonged poor nutrition. When a pregnant woman does not get all the nourishment needed, the baby’s physical and brain development can be affected.

“Studies show that when pregnant women are depressed, don’t eat well, and don’t get in their supplements, it could all lead to stunting. We are currently visiting Maternity and Obstetrics Units (MOUs), churches, mosques, and wherever women gather, to encourage them to join a group if they are pregnant. This is an opportunity for them to journey alongside other pregnant women.

“The Flourish group is a community of support. We do not replace the women’s antenatal care routine. It is run by people from the community to make it more accessible. We also have postnatal groups, because sometimes women suffer from postnatal depression. It is all about growing friendships and growing communities,” Ms Johns said.

Some of the activities include making wish-ribbon mobiles, with wishes for the baby’s first year of life written on the ribbon, fun cook- offs, being money savvy, baby massages, creating vision boards and conversations around breastfeeding, among others.

Joining a group is free, and there are groups in Mitchell’s Plain, Lavender Hill, Retreat, Mowbray, Eerste River and Khayelitsha already. Currently, a recruitment drive is under way to get more pregnant women to join a group in January.

If you would like to join a group, contact Ms Johns at 073 204 7316 for Mitchell’s Plain, Gretha at 061 424 1332 for Mowbray, Karen at 074 249 3270 for Eerste River, Shandre Williams at 072 257 9453 for Retreat, Cleo Gobeni at 071 056 4809, Khuthala Ngodi at 083 319 4089 and Amanda at 079 362 0206 for Khayelitsha.