Recently, our Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise team was in Tanzania to pilot a project that aims to reduce iron deficiency anemia in young children and women of childbearing age.
Iron deficiency is a massive global problem. In Tanzania, anemia is rampant because of low consumption of iron-rich foods and other causes, with some areas seeing 70% of children 6-59 months old affected by it. Such alarming numbers mean that these children are likely exhausted, weak, nauseous, unable to focus and learn, and can’t muster the energy for normal childlike behaviour of play.
On a social level, iron deficiency can impact the economic earning potential of families and cognitive development among children.
“With the high levels of iron deficiency among children under five and women in Tanzania, we needed to take action,” said Anne Pringle, Impact and Partnerships Manager at Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise. “We are committed to increasing iron levels around the globe and dedicated to partnering with organizations that take a holistic approach with their interventions.”
And so, with funding support from Global Affairs Canada, we partnered with World Vision Canada’s ENRICH program to introduce 4,700 Lucky Iron Fish over the course of a year as a tool to help boost the iron in the local Tanzanian diets. The program is focused on children between the ages of six months and 59 months, and women of childbearing age.
Partnering with World Vision Canada and World Vision Tanzania (WVT), we built a program to address iron deficiency in both the Singida and Shinyanga regions of Tanzania. Our kickoff for the project began by convening with and training of 25 district and regional medical team members and WVT staff on iron deficiency and how the Lucky Iron Fish is used. We also demonstrated taste tests to show that the Lucky Iron Fish does not impact the taste of food it’s cooked in.
The next day, we joined these newly-trained field workers as they led a field demonstration in the Singida region where approximately 60 people attended, mostly mothers, children under five years old, fathers and some village elders and leaders.
People were excited to learn about the Lucky Iron Fish, and happy to take part in a cooking demonstration.
The remainder of the one-year pilot will see the more workshops in the Singida and Shinyanga regions as the World Vision field workers and nutritionists distribute Lucky Iron Fish to these Tanzanian communities.
We would like to extend our appreciation to Global Affairs Canada who funded the pilot project in Tanzania.