Digital technology has created a huge opportunity to do things differently. It is up to us to take advantage of this to tackle nutrition in a new and effective way. The only limitation is our imagination. Doing less is a disservice to the millions of small-scale farmers and children still waiting to achieve their full development potential.
AUTHOR’S PERSONAL STORY
While in Ghana, I worked for many years in rural communities in the Manya-Krobo district. I had the privilege of meeting some amazing women. Manye Naateki, the queen mother and a woman in her early sixties, really stood out. “Manye” literally means mother of the community. Early one morning, I received a call from Naateki to report to her home. On arrival, she took me to her inner room and showed me a two-day-old baby boy she had just received. The baby, named Emmanuel, lost his father a year ago and his mother had just died in childbirth. I asked her if she would keep this child. Her response was, “Yes, in our culture there is nothing like an orphan. Every child has a home and a mother. If I do not accept this baby he will become malnourished and die.” Naateki has divided up her entire community into subcommunities, each headed by a sub–queen mother. Each sub–queen mother is responsible for all the orphan children in the subcommunity. Emmanuel is twelve years old now and calls Naateki “mama.” Naateki, who is currently blind, connects regularly with her team of queen mothers through her mobile phone. This article is dedicated to all the Manyes creating homes for orphaned children.
Anna Lartey is Director of the Nutrition Division of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization