The community of Ngawang Dramtoe, Samtse has a long history of dietary and nutritional issues. They generally do not have the practice of incorporating vegetables in their diet, nor do they have any knowledge on the importance of a balanced diet for good health. The Tarayana Foundation Field Officer, Ms. Thinley Bidha reported that families in this community mostly eat rice with chili and oil. Due to their unhealthy diet, the rate of tuberculosis within this community remains high and they are at a risk for multiple health issues.
The Bhutan Foundation USAID - US Agency for International Development ESF project addresses the issue of malnourishment by introducing new varieties of nutrient-rich vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beans, etc. Some of the vegetables are foreign to the community members, so they did not even know how to prepare them. To help improve their dietary practice, the Tarayana Field Officer has been conducting cooking classes and teaching them various processing methods. All 49 households in Ngawang Dramtoe now have their own kitchen garden and have received one on one preparation techniques and instructions.
The whole purpose of food self-sufficiency will be defeated if local communities are not aware of the need to enhance their own nutrition and overall health. This is an important aspect in making communities sustainable and the country self-sufficient. This project is a big success, not only for growing and generating income through the sale of crops but also for improving dietary behavior and the overall health of the community. This is truly a transformation!