GROW women farmers had until Tuesday July 31 of this year to purchase new technology from the GROW technology fund. This fund gives them access to purchase machinery and supplies which will make them more effective, efficient and safe farmers at an affordable price. Some of the inventory they have been able to choose from were:
- Planter (allows for planting seeds in a row more efficiently)
- Hippo Roller (for water catchment)
- KickStart Money Maker Pump (irrigation pump)
- Thresher with Trailer (farm equipment that removes seeds from stalks and husks)
- Soya mill grinder
- A complete soya kit put together by Malnutrition Matters, Tarpaulin
- Personal Protective Equipment (protects farmers while they farm from chemicals
- Motorkings or donkeycarts
One of the items they could have bought was the Malnutrition Matters, soya kits. As a team building activity, our Tamale office decided to do a workshop to use the soya kits and make soya kebabs. After harvesting soya in their fields, GROW farmers have the choice of waiting to sell their soya bean harvest in the market or use their it to make food like soya kebabs to feed their families. Soya based foods are an important source of high-quality protein so encouraging them to add it to their children’s diets is a vital part of the GROW program. Our programming staff in Wa have trained women how to prepare soya yogurt, soya milk and other recipes using these soya kits. During programming activities soya bean recipes and cookbooks have been distributed to support women with tools they can take home and reference again. Hopefully this will encourage mothers to incorporate soya into their family diets as an added source of protein. During the crucial developmental years of life, babies and young children require much more protein per kilogram of body weight than an adult, or even an adolescent. A lack of protein at this age will stunt the physical and mental development of the child, thus affecting their adult lives directly. Our nutritional unit has worked on involving men in GROW communities to increase their understanding of the benefits of soya as a nutritious food option. Men now realize the importance of having a balanced diet and began to contribute and support their spouses in their efforts to produce and eat more soya-based foods.
Whether these GROW women farmers use their soya harvest for additional income generation or to help feed their families at meal time, it doesn’t matter which option they choose- giving them more options will bring greater opportunities to improve their livelihoods. Having at a real understanding of what it takes to make soya kebabs gave the Tamale staff a better appreciation of all the hard work and effort GROW women put into using the soya kits and making soya-based foods to sell and feed to their families. Below is a visual of what the process of making soya kebabs looked like in our Tamale GROW office:
- Remove stones and other unwanted particles from beans.
- Rinse and then soak the soybeans in water (for 6 – 12 hours, depending on water temperature).
This step has many benefits: it cleans the soybeans, removes some of the gas-causing sugars in soya, makes it easier to grind and helps the protein dissolve in the process water. The beans had been soaked the evening before this workshop.
- Strain water and mill using the grinder included in the soya kit. This turned out to be a more labor intensive task then initially anticipated. The team took turns grinding the beans into a paste.
- Sieve with a colander and sieve milk again with a cheese cloth or a clean white scarf.
Using both a colander and a cotton cloth to sieve the soya bean paste so excess water is taken out.
- Put soya milk on fire and stir continuously.
We try to use all parts of the soya kit including the container.
- Boil “puhee” or “bra” and strain the liquid.
- Add the “bra” or “puhee” liquid to the soy milk after boiling for 15 minutes (it will form a curd)
We also tried to simulate the conditions of what it would be like preparing these soya kebabs in a GROW community using a charcoal fire to cook.
- Bring it down from the fire and add powdered pepper and spices.
- Stir and allow it to stand for 5 minutes.Pour into a sack (wheat flour sack) and tie.
- Put something very heavy on it to drain the water and compress it.
- Cut into kebab sizes pieces and fry. Our office used onions for frying to add taste.
- Prepare your stew (as many Ghanaians eat stew as part of their meals) and put fried soya kebab inside adding water to make it soft (as needed) Or arrange on kebab sticks and put vegetables (onions, green peppers) after each piece of kebab.Serve alone or with food!