Alive and Thrive, a global nutrition initiative, in partnership with Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) in Kano State, is championing a behavioural change campaign towards enlightening women on exclusive breastfeeding as a panacea to addressing malnutrition in children.
The initiative, which targets saving lives, preventing illness and ensuring healthy growth of mothers and children, has an expanded scope to include maternal and adolescent nutrition and using agriculture and social protection programmes as delivery mechanisms for Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) by engaging three CBOs in Kano to spread the ideas across selected local communities.
The partner CBOs are Grassroots Health and Empowerment Foundation (GHEF), Support for Women and Teenage Children (SWATCH) and IDev-Pro-African Institute (African Institute of International Development Professionals).
Speaking during a media visit organised by Alive and Thrive to the partnering CBOs on the MIYCN project in Kano on Wednesday, the organisations commended the initiative for the programme, noting that it was playing a significant role in improving nutritional status of the communities.
The Executive Director of GHEF, Malam Audu Tela, said that through the programme they were accelerating the scale of the MIYCN project among communities and also enlightening women on 1,000 days of baby care.
He said, "What we are doing is all about interpersonal communication, community mobilisation and mass communication to scale up nutrition in Kano. The project is fully funded by Alive and Thrive, an NGO that is championing the campaign on nutrition. We are also counselling them on exclusive breastfeeding, early initiation after birth."
He noted that they were currently working in five LGAs of Kano North: Gwarzo, Shanono, Bagwai, Kabo and Bichi, and that they had selected 10 facilities in each of the LGAs that they were working with.
Similarly, another CBO that is implementing the project in Kano South, SWATCH, said through the programme they sensitised women, children and health workers on the impact of exclusive breastfeeding and malnutrition.
Its Executive Director, Ramatu Shehu Garba, said, "We are so far into advocacy visits to the selected LGAs in Kano south, where we are enlightening women, community leaders, health workers on exclusive breastfeeding and other nutritional values."
For IDev-Pro-African Institute, the call is for government and community leaders to support Alive and Thrive for the sustainable achievement of the project.
"In this hardship moment, meat is expensive, so part of our work is to raise awareness among people that there are other locally available foods that will enhance nutrition. Like beans, moringa and so on," Abdulmajid Auwal, its monitoring and evaluation officer said.