GlobeMed at Middlebury College partners with Gardens for Health International in Kigali, Rwanda, to provide a sustainable approach to nutritional independence.
GlobeMed at Middlebury College + Gardens for Health International
GlobeMed at Middlebury College | Middlebury, Vermont
Gardens for Health International (GHI) | Kigali, Rwanda
Malnutrition is the cause of nearly one third of early childhood deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
“I think I speak for the entire GROW team in saying we are incredibly excited both for what we accomplished this summer and what we can do in the future. We learned an enormous amount about how to improve upon our work and are ready for next year to be even more successful than this year.”
– Sam Peisch, Middlebury College ’13
About the Partnership
“What if doctors prescribed seeds?”
Gardens for Health International (GHI), located in Ndera, Rwanda, was founded in 2007 by three college students who were determined to fight one of the largest causes of death in Rwanda and many other countries: childhood malnutrition. In order to do this, GHI broke away from the traditional short-term solution of handouts and aid, and instead turned to agriculture in hopes of finding a sustainable fix.
With most Rwandans already involved in the agricultural field but lacking the knowledge and resources to nutritiously feed their families, GHI worked with this pre-existing infrastructure to develop a robust program that combats childhood malnutrition.
The Gardens for Health International (GHI) model represents a sustainable alternative to food aid packages, which can bring immediate results but offer little incentive for self-sufficiency. GHI aims to improve the health and socioeconomic status of Rwandans living with HIV/AIDS by equipping them with a different kind of package:
(1) Cooperative formation & land advocacy
(2) Inputs for community & home gardens
(3) Agriculture & nutrition training
(4) Income generation through agribusiness
GHI does not promise participants an immediate solution; rather, the gardens serve as places for those facing similar challenges to mobilize and work together to produce their own high-nutrient food and generate income. By working with existing community groups, GHI strengthens local, existing infrastructure rather than imposing new protocols and structures.
In 2010, GHI launched its Health Center Program, in which field staff run training sessions out of government health centers throughout the country, where they teach families how to maintain a home garden, feed children meals with proper nutrients, raise livestock, and cover a comprehensive health curriculum. Through this program, GHI has been successful in spreading education and resources to thousands of Rwandans, leaving families with agency over their own health.
Last year, GHI expanded to ten new health centers in Rwanda, totaling to 18 health centers out of which GHI works. Through this expansion, GHI plans to serve 2,160 families this year alone.
GlobeMed at Middlebury hopes to raise $15,000 for GHIʼs capacity‐building initiatives needed to support its comprehensive health center program. For the purposes of this project, categories of internal development will include financial systems, technology infrastructure, and operations oversight. GHI has recently expanded to ten new health centers in Musanze District, a milestone that will require additional and large investments in overhead spending.