August 8, 2017
The Soul Beat

Soul Beat Africa

The Soul Beat 269 - Promoting Good Nutrition for Mothers and Children in Africa
August 8 2017
From SOUL BEAT AFRICA - where communication and media are central to AFRICA's social and economic development
In this issue:

"Good nutrition is the bedrock of child survival, health and development. Well-nourished children are better able to grow and learn, to participate in and contribute to their communities, and to be resilient in the face of disease, disasters, and other global crises. But for the millions of children suffering from malnutrition, the reality is stark. Every year, around 3 million children die due to undernutrition. For millions more, chronic malnutrition will result in stunting - an irreversible condition that literally stunts the physical and cognitive growth of children. - UNICEF website. The solution is not only to have access to food, and the correct food, but also to ensure that communities adopt healthy nutrition behaviours and practices. This issue of The Soul Beat looks at how communication can be used to promote healthy behaviours and practices related to nutrition, with a particular focus on mothers, infants, and children. The newsletter includes a selection of content posted onto the Soul Beat Africa website that looks at broader, comprehensive social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) strategies used by some organisations, as well as more specific communication approaches and tools used to improve nutrition: advocacy and social mobilisation; media and information and communication technologies (ICTS); participatory and gender sensitive approaches; as well as capacity building approaches.


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  • 1. Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy 2014-2025 - Technical Guidance Brief: Effective At-Scale Nutrition Social and Behavior Change Communication [2017]
    This technical brief summarises key considerations and provides links to available resources and tools to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate nutrition social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) interventions. As defined in the brief, “Nutrition SBCC is a set of interventions that systematically combines elements of interpersonal communication, social change and community mobilization activities, mass media, and advocacy to support individuals, families, communities, institutions, and countries in adopting and maintaining high-impact nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive behaviors or practices. Effective nutrition SBCC leverages enablers of behaviors and reduces barriers to adopting and maintaining behaviors over time."
  • 2. Integrated Social Behavior Change Communication to Improve Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition Practices [2017]
    This technical brief describes the SBCC approach used by the Empowering the New Generation to Improve Nutrition and Economic Opportunities (ENGINE) project, a multisector nutrition project implemented in Ethiopia from September 2011 to September 2016. Led by Save the Children, ENGINE partnered with Ethiopian ministries to strengthen existing multisector coordination and to support the development and revision of nutrition policies, guidelines, and standards. The project's SBCC activities promoted optimal maternal, infant, and young child feeding practices and dietary diversity at the community level and included engaging religious leaders, an mNutrition platform, radio, and community conversations.
  • 3. Designing the Future of Nutrition Social and Behavior Change Communication: How to Achieve Impact at Scale [2014]
    This report and complementary video, present a five-point strategic agenda for nutrition SBCC to help prompt nutrition stakeholders to maximise SBCC's contribution in reaching global nutrition targets. According to the report, research demonstrates that unhealthy behaviours are risk factors for global mortality and illness, and that there is considerable evidence for the effectiveness of SBCC interventions to improve nutrition behaviours. However, global conversations have not fully recognised the central role of SBCC. This report was produced to provoke discussion and catalyse change among existing nutrition and SBCC institutions, decision-makers, practitioners, and influencers.

  • 4. Media Engagement and Capacity-Building to Increase Commitment to IYCF Policies and Programs: Lessons Learned from Alive & Thrive [May 2017]
    This brief describes an advocacy strategy used by the infant and young child feeding (IYCF) programme of Alive and Thrive (A&T), which worked in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Viet Nam to reduce undernutrition and death caused by sub-optimal IYCF practices. The strategy involved engaging the media to spotlight research reports, events, launches of projects, and programme interventions for opinion-leaders and decision-makers, as well as a wide audience, to ensure that they are aware of the impact that IYCF and child nutrition has on individuals, families, and an entire nation. This brief forms part of a series of briefs highlighting best practices and lessons learned in policy advocacy by A&T.
  • 5. Partnering with Women's Associations to Advocate for Stronger Infant and Young Child Feeding Policies and Programs: Lessons Learned From Alive & Thrive [May 2017]
    Another advocacy strategy used by A&T was to work with women's associations, both formal or informal, which can range from independent civil society organisations to para-statal organisations. This brief describes the project's relationships with women's associations and how A&T worked with these associations to advocate for stronger IYCF policies. As stated in the brief, "[I]n many countries throughout the developing world, women's associations can be influential advocacy and education organizations that represent the voices of mothers to government and legislative bodies, while also providing a key communications channel to reach mothers in local communities."
  • 6. How Do Community Health Workers Contribute to Better Nutrition? - Advocacy Tools [2017]
    This set of advocacy resources is intended to help government ministry staff and other in-country stakeholders to advocate for increased involvement of community health workers (CHW) in promoting good nutrition. Based on an analysis of policies in 9 countries, the documents offer information on the current responsibilities of CHW in each country, and identify gaps in nutrition service delivery where advocacy for policy or programme change related to the role of CHWs may be required.
  • 7. Social Mobilisation, Advocacy and Communication for Nutrition [July 2014]
    "Developing a social mobilisation, advocacy and communication strategy or plan for scaling up nutrition that is well resourced and has clear indicators and benchmarks is critical. This briefing from Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) focuses on social mobilisation, advocacy, and communication drawing on lessons from 6 of its affiliated countries: Peru, Cameroon, Uganda, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Kenya.

What kinds of challenges and opportunities infuse your communication and media development, social and behavioural change work? This survey is a chance for you to let us know! We will report back on results and trends so you can gain insights from your peers in the network.
Click here to lend your voice.

  • 8. Seeing Is Believing: Evidence from a Community Video Approach for Nutrition and Hygiene Behaviors: The SPRING/Digital Green Experience in Niger [2016]
    By Leanne Dougherty
    This report presents findings from a mixed-methods evaluation to assess the acceptability and effectiveness of a community video pilot initiative in Niger to address maternal, infant, and young child nutrition (MIYCN) and hygiene behaviours. The goal of the project, which was implemented by the Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) project and Digital Green (DG), was to contribute to a decrease in childhood illnesses caused by poor handwashing and to support improved dietary intake through an increase in the use of responsive feeding practices.
  • 9. Can Radio Drama Improve Child Health and Nutrition in Somalia? [April 2015]
    By Shiri Landman and Angela Githitho Muriithi
    This brief discusses the evaluation findings of Tiraarka Qoyska (Pillars of the Family), a 75-episode weekly radio health programme produced by BBC Media Action, with support from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), that ran on BBC Somalia from 2011 to 2013. The brief explains that Tiraarka Qoyska was designed "to increase the uptake of six supporting priority behaviours that, if more widely adopted, could improve child health." Through an interactive health magazine segment and a drama called Dareemo, Tiraarka Qoyska encouraged such behaviour as early and exclusive breastfeeding for six months, increasing complementary feeding for children after six months, and increasing intake of food and fluids when children have diarrhoea.
  • 10. Dial 'N' for Nutrition? A Landscape Analysis of What We Know About m-Nutrition, m-Agriculture and m-Development [November 2016]
    By Inka Barnett, Nigel Scott, Simon Batchelor, and Lawrence Haddad
    This IDS working paper centres on child undernutrition and behaviour change and their intersection with agriculture. Specifically, it examines mobile technology as an initiator of behaviour change by reviewing m-Agri and m-Health interventions in low income countries. The purpose of this paper is to "assist would-be implementers and evaluators to understand the landscape they are operating in, so they can design nutrition and agriculture interventions that stand the greatest chance of working, and evaluation designs that stand the greatest chance of finding answers rigorously."
  • 11. mHealth Design Toolkit - Ten Principles to Launch, Develop and Scale Mobile Health Services in Emerging Markets [2017]
    This mHealth Design Toolkit is an instrument to provide guidance to the development and implementation of mHealth services. The toolkit was developed as part of GSMA's mHealth programme which has been working in Africa on an mNutrition initiative to develop and launch mobile health services with a focus on nutrition for pregnant women and young mothers. For this reason, the content and case studies in this toolkit focus mainly on nutrition.

  • 12. Engaging Communities through Enhanced Community Conversations [2017]
    This technical brief describes the use of community conversations, which formed part of the SBCC approach used by the ENGINE project, a multisector nutrition project implemented in Ethiopia from September 2011 to September 2016 (see No. 2 above). Based on lessons learned from a community conversations pilot initiative, ENGINE developed the enhanced community conversations (ECCs) which went beyond raising awareness and knowledge to promote the adoption of nutrition-related skills, behaviours, and gender transformative roles.
  • 13. How to Integrate Children's Participation in Health and Nutrition Programming [2015]
    This guide has been developed for Save the Children's health and nutrition staff and partners so they can better support the meaningful participation of children and young people in health and nutrition programmes. The guide looks at the involvement of children at all levels of the programme cycle from design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation, as well as their role as advocates to influence policy and practice on health and nutrition issues.




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