KENYA – The Mombasa County government has collaborated with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to introduce the ongoing ‘Vegetable for All’ (VfA) campaign in the county hence increase vegetable intake among its residents.

The KES 1.5 billion (USD 9.27 million) five-year initiative which was officially launched at the Nairobi Serena Hotel in October last year, specifically addresses the consumption of dark green leafy vegetables, vitamin-rich foods, and various other vegetables.

The VfA campaign aims to reach 1.1 million people by 2026 and is being implemented in five counties: Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos, Nakuru, and Mombasa.

Kiambu County was one of the earliest beneficiaries of the initiative, having hosted its region’s launch event in September 2023 immediately after the official launch.

The project specifically targets families with children aged three to 12 in the lower-income group, seeking to create a significant impact on dietary habits and nutritional well-being.

Denis Abri, the project manager, emphasized the importance of the program during the launch in Mikindani, Jomvu constituency, stating, “We are promoting the Food Fiti brand that ensures there is access to fresh vegetables to consumers. The program is focusing on demand.”

“We are creating awareness to ensure consumers understand the need to eat fresh vegetables in addition to having an enabling environment policy that relates to vegetable safety food standards.”

Recent data from the Global Diet Quality Project indicates that 65% of Kenyans currently include green leafy vegetables in their diets.

However, despite this prevalence, overall vegetable consumption has stagnated at 100 to 130 grams per person per day over the past 15 years.

This falls significantly below the World Health Organization’s recommended daily intake of 400 grams of fruits and vegetables.

Kenya’s collaboration with GAIN, a Swiss-based foundation established in 2002 to address malnutrition spans various departments, including trade, health, and agriculture, with a comprehensive approach that includes safety standards advocacy through seminars and training sessions.

Moreover, Abri outlined additional strategies to reach the public, such as branding tuktuks and engaging tuktuk operators. “Consumers tend to relate more to brands; that’s why we are running the Food fiti brand. We shall make use of other media channels, like billboards. We want people to change their behavior and take vegetable consumption seriously.”

Phyllis Kemoto, health officer in Jomvu subcounty, praised the program, emphasizing its potential to address malnutrition challenges in slum areas.

The campaign, set to expand across the six subcounties of Nyali, Jomvu, Likoni, Mvita, Kisauni, and Changamwe, has garnered support from various sectors, including tuktuk drivers.

John Chengo, chairman of tuktuk drivers in Mikindani, highlighted the positive impact of the program on their understanding of the importance of vegetables.

“Based on the teachings we received, we understand that vegetables are very important to us. The message will get to many because tuktuk drivers visit far-flanked areas,” he said.

The collaborative efforts between GAIN, the Mombasa County government, and local communities aim to drive lasting change in dietary habits and improve nutritional outcomes.

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