Maggie Andresen currently lives and works in Kigali, Rwanda. She studied photojournalism, international communications, and Italian during undergraduate studies in the United States. Maggie focuses on documentary projects with a humanitarian lens. Her personal work features themes of migration, marginalised people, and health and labour issues.
Maggie has produced photo and video content for audiences in South Africa, Italy, Rwanda, and the United States. Currently, she is documenting childhood malnutrition in Rwanda through a partnership with a local nonprofit organization, Gardens for Health International.
In Rwanda, 38% of children under five are chronically malnourished. The government has deemed ending childhood malnutrition a national priority, although hard-to-reach rural areas can be difficult targets for government intervention.
Nyirantungane Claudine, a 21-year-old mother of twin daughters Uwiduhaye Divine and Muhawenimana Kevine, is one such case. Claudine's daughters are not chronically malnourished, they instead have Severe Acute Malnutrition, a more serious condition found more frequently in countries suffering from conflict-induced food shortages. Claudine's family is also housing insecure, which is a large contributor to childhood and generational malnutrition.
In January 2018, Claudine enrolled in a three-month program through her local health center with a local nonprofit, Gardens for Health International (GHI). GHI uses an integrated approach of nutrition and agriculture trainings to create a sustainable solution to childhood malnutrition in Rwanda. While her daughters did not gain much weight through involvement in the program, Claudine received training in integrated health topics, was given milk and Ready-to-use Theraputic Food at her health center, was given seed inputs and several chickens, and later was advocated for new home construction by GHI.
There is no quick fix for malnutrition, rather it is a gradual healing that always leaves a scar. Stories like Claudine's show the integrated causes of childhood malnutrition and the need for innovative solutions that address the various factors contributing to it.