USAID- Feed The Future Integreting Nutrition In Value Chains Malawi, Project

About the project

A behavior change strategy that seeks to promote small `doable`, culturally appropriate actions that most families can afford, will be effective even when applied at a large scale

Feed the futurePakachere Institute of Health and Development Communication in the Feed the Future Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains (FtF INVC), Malawi project is providing Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) strategies to achieve the goals of the project. The FtF INVC project is a three year project as part of United States Government’s global hunger and food security initiative by President Barack Obama aims to use country owned plans to sustainably reduce rural poverty and improve nutrition. This project is being implemented in Malawi by Development Alternative Inc. (DAI), Save the Children International and Michigan State University.

The project addresses legume (soy beans and groundnuts) and dairy value chains where as nutrition is being integrated in the value chains.

One of the main aims of the project is to prevent stunting among children because it has adverse effects of the normal growth and development of infants. This requires adequate nutrition uptake for the mother during pregnancy and the infant up to when it clocks 1000 days from conception to birth.

Target population

The project is targeting the poor with assets (smallholder farmers with land holding size of 0.5 to 1.2 Ha), pregnant women, lactating mothers and under five children, and is being implemented in Mchinji, Lilongwe, Dedza, Ntcheu, Balaka, Machinga and Mangochi as they are with the highest production levels of soy and groundnuts in the country, but full nutrition integration is in Lilongwe and Mchinji.

Role of Social and Behaviour Change Communication

Social and Behavior Change Communication is being used in the project in order for the target audiences to adopt desired behaviors to achieve the project’s goals of sustainably reduced rural poverty and improved nutrition.

Pakachere IHDC is providing Social and behavior change communication (SBCC) technical support to the project. Through this technical support, the project will use communication to promote and support nutrition desired practices, which often requires changes in behavior. This includes changes in individual behaviors of women, their family members, and service providers; changes in related socio-cultural norms; and creating a supportive environment. SBCC interventions are an essential program component for improving behaviors related to maternal and infant nutrition.
Integrating SBCC activities for improving nutrition desired behaviours for pregnant, lactating and breastfeeding mothers can be mutually beneficial for the health of mothers and their children. A multi-pronged, integrated approach that uses consistent, correct, and clear messages reinforced at each level can bring about significant and sustained improvements.

Examples of key MIYCN and FP messages can be found on the last page of Pakachere IHDC is providing SBCC technical advice to Nkhoma Hospital and other implementing partners as well as guiding them on how they should package their messages in order to influence change. To further meet the goals of the project, Pakachere will develop, produce and disseminates mass media products through radio and print, as well as community mobilization through village participatory performances by community based drama groups and Pakachere Travelling Theatre.

Positive Deviance Inquiries

Pakachere will also conduct positive deviance inquiries (PDI) and market surveys to unveil current nutrition desired practices among target audiences, establish barriers to adoption of desired behaviors and come up with suggested approaches that implementing partners will use to address the barriers. PDI will be used to identify individuals and families who within the same socio-economic situation are able to practice nutrition desired behaviours. Their motivation to behave positively will be used to motivate others to follow through demonstrations and mentoring.

Implementing partners

The implementing partners of the project are National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi, Farmers’ Union of Malawi and Malawi Milk Producers Association which provide gender delivery structures at community levels and the Technical service providers include Nkhoma Hospital for the nutrition component of the project and Pakachere IHDC for Social and Behaviour Change Communication.