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31 August 2023 - News

Nourishing and Empowering Adolescent Girls like Rahima

“I have been swimming in our little family pond since I can remember. My father used to catch small amounts of fish from it occasionally. From Suchana’s aquaculture training, I was fascinated to learn what goes on beneath the surface of the pond and how it can become a source of nourishment for the family. My father and I work in the pond together, feeding our family of five and selling the surplus.”

Rahima is a Suchana adolescent peer leader who received support for homestead food production, adolescent nutrition, and life skills from Suchana. From the aquaculture training provided by Suchana, Rahima learned how to treat the pond water with lime, create the right environment for natural feed production, and calculate the optimal number of fish for the size of her pond. She is growing gourd, okra, red amaranth, and gourd on the pond dykes from high-quality seeds. Rahima confesses, “I was used to avoiding leafy vegetables and mola fish as a child, but Suchana’s nutrition sessions have motivated me to eat fish and vegetables that I have grown myself for a well-balanced meal.”

Rahima understands how nutrition impacts not only her life but that of her unborn children: “Adolescents are future mothers – by taking care of ourselves, we are taking care of the future.” From Suchana, she found out that she could get IFA supplements from the local Community Clinic and access more resources focused on adolescent health and well-being. The life-skills training she received as a Suchana adolescent peer leader has helped her become confident to demand the support and services she needs from her family and community.

Suchana has effectively raised Rahima’s awareness of the negative consequences of early marriage and early pregnancy. In Suchana’s working areas, the proportion of adolescents who cannot articulate a single result of early marriage dropped from 23.7% in 2017 to 2.4% in 2023. Nearly 87% of adolescent participants feel their opinions are well-received in the family. Suchana’s support in homestead food production and income generation has helped 51,810 adolescent girls like Rahima from the poorest families across 20 upazilas of Sylhet and Moulvibazar.