Class of 2021
In Kenya, the average family lives on $1 a day. With this knowledge, it’s unsurprising – but no less shocking – that 50% of diseases are diet-related. Growing up in Kajiado County, Maureen Muketha witnessed first-hand mothers making choices about which one of their children would eat that day, before watching them succumb to malnutrition and its associated diseases.
“If things were going to change, I knew it would be up to me,” says Maureen. She wanted to rewrite the narrative and chose to study for a degree in nutrition to help enact positive change in her community. As it turned out, this was just the first step in greater revelations. Maureen’s education led her to become the founder of Tule Vyema (‘Let’s Eat Right’, in Swahili) in 2017.
The organisation’s strategy is twofold: first, to educate the women cooking for their families in the region; second, to give them the means to feed their community with nutritious food that is indigenous and sustainable. After talks on nutrition, the women are taught ‘sack farming’, a process where growbags are provided with seeds and all the components necessary for growing in areas of drought. Since its foundation, Tule Vyema has provided over 2,000 community members with nutrition education and improved food security levels in over 800 households. It has been recognised by the UN, Oxfam, Food Tank and numerous other global organisations who rightly laud Maureen’s work.
“While doing my undergraduate project on indigenous vegetables, I realised that there was not only a gap among students, but also the general population. As a trained, certified and passionate nutritionist, I understand the impact poor feeding practices can have on an individual throughout their life cycle and the great benefits an individual, community and country can enjoy from well-nourished individuals.” – Maureen Muketha