The Bigwa students’ diet has traditionally consisted primarily of starch foods that have been grown locally including potatoes and root vegetables. The readily available proteins in the geographic area which locals eat are legumes such as beans.
In the interest of improving the Bigwa School’s student body’s health, in 2010 a student from Marywood University’s Nutrition and Dietetics Department was invited to conduct research to identify the nutritional value in the diet provided to students at the Bigwa School. Findings revealed that their diet was heavily starch-based, and that the community would greatly benefit from introducing more proteins into their everyday diet.
In 2011, after having completed a Service Learning trip, one of the students from the ASEC colleges thought of addressing the need to introduce more protein into the diet and donated money for the purchase of a cow to provide milk for the students.
A grant from the GHR foundation in spring of 2012 provided the funding for a borehole, which could provide the much-needed resource of fresh, clean potable water for drinking but also for growing vegetables and for animals. Sisters involved with the Bigwa school also set out to address the protein nutritional deficit and at that time donated their savings to create a fish pond; with the fish they were able to supplement their diet. However, the fish pond could not accommodate the high number of fish and there was a need for a second one.
After the Service Learning trip in May 2012, another student donated funds for the second fish pond in order to expand the fish production. Construction began and it was completed in April 2013.