IR2. Promoting Optimal Nutrition, WASH, and Agriculture Behaviors

The goal is to improve maternal, adolescent and child nutrition by increasing the adoption of optimal nutrition, WASH, and agriculture behaviors using social and behavior change communication (SBCC). This approach addresses gaps and promotes alignment and consistency of SBCC activities across the country.

IR2 integrates programming related to nutrition-sensitive agriculture (IR1), nutrition-specific interventions through the health sector (IR3), and WASH (IR4). The targets are women and their family members, caretakers, and the most vulnerable households with children under two. The SBCC focus on women emphasizes equal distribution of responsibilities and decision-making in households for optimal family health and growth.

The following focus areas are identified under IR2:

  • Evidence-based SBCC approaches to improve nutrition, WASH, and agriculture-related behaviors
  • Frontline agriculture and health workers’ skills related to SBCC
  • Promotion and support of SBCC at community and household levels

Key Progress in Project Year II 

During the Project Year II, Growth through Nutrition availed key materials for all partners on an online SBCC Resource Bank as part of the knowledge management website. Reports on adolescent nutrition formative research and the maternal nutrition trial of improved practices (TIPs) research were finalized and SBCC strategy was formulated. The project started Enhanced Community Conversations (ECCs) via both LNGOs and MVHH saving group platforms to improve the adoption of maternal, infant, young child nutrition (MIYCN) practices, reaching a total of 13,155 individuals. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church – Development Association (EOTC-DICAC) also provided training for 247 clergies on laws and regulations related to fasting for pregnant and lactating women, and children under two in Amhara region.

Key Progress in Project Year III

Growth through Nutrition developed annotated descriptions for the set of seven new adolescent nutrition SBCC print materials for health clubs, teachers’ guide, and TOT module updated to the Growth through Nutrition’s online SBCC Resource Bank

Developed adolescent radio spot program for in-school girls:  In Year III, Growth through Nutrition supported twelve educational radio stations in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, and SNNP Regions to produce and transmit 166 radio adolescent spot programs for in-school gitls and developed a set of new SBCC print materials for use with adolescents both in- and out-of-school. A rapid assessment was conducted in Quarter III to identify additional content to be transmitted as well as to verify the reach and quality of transmission. In depth interviews were conducted with radio program producers, teachers, and directors while focus group discussions were made with students in five selected schools from project Regions. 

Additionally, the project conducted a rapid assessment in Tigray and Amhara Regions and Ethiopian Orothodox Tewahedo Church head office in Addis Ababa to identify strengths and limitations of the current approach and recommend a more suitable approach to address harmful fasting norms. 

Key Progress in Project Year IV

During year IV the first 1,000-day radio program was aired in the Tigray and Oromia regions. Additionally a first 1,000 days assessment report, as well as Adolescent Nutrition SBCC document were produced during the year. Following the completion of transmissions in 2019, a rapid assessment and subsequent revision and development workshop was conducted to include anemia prevention during adolescence, early marriage, food frequency and diversity and other key topics. 

As a member of the National Health Communication and Promotifon Task Force, Growth through Nutrition provided support during 22 national and regional SBCC meetings in the year and also provided support for the development of the next Health Sector Transformation Plan. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, technical support in SBCC focused on preventative communication related to the Pandemic. In addition, more than 86,000 coronavirus risk communication promotion materials (posters and flyers) were distributed.

The SBCC arm of the project focused on improving the capacity of frontline agriculture and health workers during year IV, encouraging the utilization of practical tools such as training manuals and SBCC material package by extension workers.  Relevant SBCC materials were printed and distributed and the resource library of the learning website was also updated with the relevant SBCCs, strategies and learning documents. 

Consumption of animal source foods is negatively impacted by religious fasting of Orthodox Christian communities in Tigray and Amhara regions. Local and national religious leaders were therefore mobilized in a two-day training by the project to teach the importance of exempting children under 7 from fasting.


Report Summary - Social Behavior Change Communication, Virtual Facilitator Study

The attached document is a summary of the report on a quasi-experimental study Tufts University conducted to evaluate the added value of virtual facilitator as an SBCC approaches to improve IYCF, women diet diversity, women empowerment and WASH practices of Enhance Community Conversation participants in selected project intervention woredas in Amhara  (Basoliben Woreda) and Oromia  (Becho and Girar Jarso

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Success Story - Empowered Health Extension Worker Atsede transforms a health facility

When Atsede Seifu first joined the Tekeze Health Post in Welkait Wereda as a Health Extention Worker, she was highly affected by “that intensive sadness and worry of seeing children suffer from malnutrition despite the availability of different food items in their hands or at home.” With this motivation, she set about implementing quality improvement models supported by Growth through Nutrition following her on-the-job training - improving the organized records of the facility's services.

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Success Story - A Family Saved from Dismantling

In a powerful testament to the force of knowledge and empowerment, mother-of-six, Workinesh Teka, details how with support from Growth through Nutrition, she transformed her family from a nutritionally vulnerable household to a thriving family unit, and how her children now consume a diversified diet of vegetables and animal products. She learned negotiation skills, and in doing so, built a stronger relationship with her husband, keeping the family from breaking apart. 

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