Introducing Microponds – Fighting Micronutrient Malnutrition

Short description

Introducing Microponds as a way to create capacaties for rural households to combat hidden hunger.

Which problem do I/we aim to solve ? and why?

This idea aims to contribute to structurally fight hidden hunger in Zambia putting a special focus on the most needy – the people living in extreme poverty.
Hidden hunger is a more complex form of the commonly known phenomenon hunger and refers to an individual being deprived in micronutrients.

Hidden hunger can occur as a reaction to shocks, but it is most often a long term, structural problem within a society.

Especially the people living in extreme poverty are suffering from this micronutrient deficit. As they are restricted in financial means, they often have no other choice but decide upon eating a simple, staple food dominant diet in order to access enough calories to survive.

To sustainably tackle the severe problem of hidden hunger is of great importance, as a higher intake in micronutrients, especially by children throughout their first 1,000 days, can prevent various crucial illnesses and their long-term effects such as stunting. Also, it can significantly lower mortality rates and foster sustainable development.

Our/My idea for a solution

The idea is to promote extensive fish farming in rural households by building Microponds, small fishponds for subsistence farming. These ponds will be rain-fed during the rainy season, but the fish will survive throughout both the rainy and the dry season with the help of different techniques.
Aiming to build a sustainable system, households will be supported by new technologies such as tutorial videos for both fish production and fish cooking. It is aimed to create a knowledge-sharing, online and offline, plattform enabling the participants to learn, teach, ask questions, share insights and stay sustainably connected.

Why Fish?

  1. Fish is a culturally accepted and a highly appreciated ingredient in the Zambian diet, especially favored by the poor.
  2. Fish is a rich source of various nutrients with high bioavailability: All species of fish are rich in protein, while some have significantly high levels of essential fatty acids and micronutrients, such as zinc, iron and calcium.

Why is my/our solution an innovative idea and tackles the challenge from a new
  1. With this project, capabilities are being provided to the participants in a bottom-up approach, sustainably reaching those that are the most difficult to target: the rural poor.
  2.  Mircoponds function independently of national irrigation systems and the fish can survive throughout the dry season.
  3. With e.g. cooking tutorials it is made sure that the harvested fish is actually useful and exciting for the household to consume, causing true sustainable development.

How is my/our idea feasible?

Some examples for monitoring:

  1. Micronutirent Malnutrition: Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) Tape
  2. Success of Micropond: Number of Microponds implemented/ year; Number or weight of fish harvested/Micropond
  3. Participation/ Acceptance: Number of participants in village/ Total number of villagers; Continiuous feedback

Also, a responsive online mapping tool can be included to monitor the number and state of all Microponds within the project. Data can be collected via text message.

Which methods and channels do I/we want to utilise?

As this project targets people living in rural areas and in extreme poverty, it is aimed to use material and channels that can be accessed by both the literate and illiterate.


  1. Local Radio/ Listening Groups: promotion; education
  2. Meida (Wepage/ App): online videos (documentation of best practices for both fish production and fish preperation); voice messages (communication among participants).
  3. Phone: Textmessages (using numer codes) for various purposes; Helpline.

What’s my/our expected outcome and improvement?

The main goal of this project is to decrease micronutrient malnutrition in poor, rural households, especially among pregnant and lactating women as well as young children. Having said this, it is aimed to see an improved nutritional status of the individuals participating after the first year of the project.

Also, through various teaching and education approaches, participants will have an extended knowledge of nutrition, especially fish benefits, fish production, preperation and conservation.

What's my/our budget and which partners I/we would expect to be valuable

We estimate that the cost for setting up and maintaining one Micropond will be at around 25 Euro.

On top of this, we need to add further costs such as for set-up and maintenance of the project as a whole. Valuable local partners would be local press/ radio stations, NGOs and universities.

Introducing Microponds - Fighting Micronutrient Malnutrition

Team: Selina Bruns, Gabriel Rosero

Dieser Artikel ist nur in englischer Sprache verfügbar.

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