Building Nutrition Resilience in Cabo Delgado
Koko, Macomia District, Cabo Delgado, March 13 2018 - Following the most severe drought in 30 years caused by the 2016/2017 El Niño phenomenon - which in Mozambique affected approximately 2.3 million people - in 2017 the DFID Fund for the Lean Season Nutrition Response and Resilience Building in Mozambique, in partnership with WPF and UNICEF, decided to support the Government in addressing the immediate needs of the affected population in four provinces (Cabo Delgado,Manica, Tete and Zambezia).
To combat the ongoing repercussions of a severe drought WFP, UNICEF and its partner ICS (Institute of Social Communication) have been working to raise awareness about community based prevention and response to severe acute malnutrition. In order to achieve this goal ICS has been engaging with community leaders in the districts where community engagement activities have been planned. To raise awareness about malnutrition ICS starts its community activities with a Roadshow where villagers are invited to the local primary school for Film Night to watch edutainment videos about food and nutrient variation, porridge fortification, food preparation protocols, water treatment and sanitation.
To further integrate the key messages into the community, ICS has engaged local community leaders. During the information session the leaders watch the films and then have an in-depth discussion about what they have seen during the session. Depending on the location several community leaders are asked to participate in the Film Night debate with the rest of the community in order to encourage people to talk and share their experiences in regard to nutrition.
In the Integrated Food Security Phase (IPC)-Nutrition Assessment conducted in April 2017, Cabo Delgado Province resulted as the province with the highest prevalence of severe acute malnutrition in children in the country. The districts of Namuno, Chiure and Ancuabe were singled out for having the highest indexes of acute malnutrition in Mozambique.
Although the community leaders have welcomed the information they do face challenges. In Nacate, District of Macomia, Gloria Simene, the only midwife in the village shared her experience: “Bringing new information to people in our community is a difficult task. We live in the traditions set by our parents and grandparents, so new ideas take a long time for people to adapt to. There are stigmas that are challenging, for example expecting mothers’ nutrition. Before, if I told them that they had to eat eggs because it’s good for them and makes the baby strong, they would have told me that I am crazy. But I keep on insisting on telling them that the best nutrition can be found in eggs, banana, papaya and other vegetables that are nutritious. Then after the baby is born I tell the mothers to only feed the infant breast milk for 6 months. After that they can give fortified porridge with banana, cassava leaves and peanuts. It takes time to convince people that these are the best practices, but the more I learn the more I am able to give families the assistance they need.”
In respects to the information the community leaders gain Chavane Jose, a door to door health agent in the village of Koko – District of Macomia -shared how the intervention with the community leaders had added value to his daily job. “ The most important message I saw in the video was that of hygiene while cooking. People are still not aware about how important it is that the person that does the cooking for the family must be in good health, be clean and have his/her hands washed while cooking. Another thing I can help my community with is to make people aware that fruits need to be washed before consumption because even when they are on the tree they are exposed to flies and birds that may have stepped on droppings and dirt”.
For more information, please contact:
Tel +258 21 481 100