This project aims to improve the nutritional security of populations living in the Kolda and Kédougou regions by focussing on preventing new cases of malnutrition, especially amongst women and young children. These regions show malnutrition rates significantly higher than the national average, resulting in child mortality rates twice as high as the national average. The project seeks to reduce malnutrition by adopting an integrated approach consisting of the following three components: (1) promote better nutrition practices for vulnerable populations; (2) support communities in the production of more nutritious food; and (3) strengthen the capacity of the government at the local, regional and national levels to deliver nutrition or nutrition-sensitive programmes. Project activities include: (1) train and provide equipment to 1,775 health workers to deliver behaviour change communication messages on appropriate nutritional practices to approximately 35,000 influential in household food consumption decision-making (mainly women); (2) support the development and delivery of community services related to maternal and child nutrition to 31,000 pregnant and lactating women and approximately 50,500 children under five; (3) implement community initiatives to improve the production and distribution of nutrient-rich food by 30,000 households, including training on good agricultural practices and support to the development of local entrepreneurship; and (4) train and provide equipment to local and regional government structures leading to a better inclusion of nutrition issues in the design, implementation, coordination and monitoring of development plans.
Results achieved as of December 2017 include: (1) 60,512 people, including 16,713 pregnant women and 27,834 breastfeeding women, benefitted from behaviour change communication activities seeking to improve their nutritional practices; (2) the percentage of children aged between 6-59 month-old benefitting from active screening of acute malnutrition in Kédougou rose from 20% in 2015 to 35.2% in 2017, and in Kolda from 36.6% in 2015 to 51.1% in 2017, thus increasing the total number of screened children by 19,569; (3) 600 adolescent girls in 30 clubs were trained in leadership, nutrition, gender equality, reproductive health, and water, sanitation and hygiene principles; (4) approximately 12 tons of cereals were produced in 2017 in the project’s targeted regions; (5) the most vulnerable households (3,949 of 5,641 households) benefitted from a basic package of nutritional food and technical support; (6) financial education training was given to 3,315 women, with the aim of giving them the knowledge and skills necessary to acquire and manage financial credit; (7) ten pooled credit groups and ten women received loans totalling 4,375,000 FCFA (francs CFA – the currency used in West Africa) ($10,085 CAN), these funds are to be used to support agriculture, backyard gardens and small businesses; (8) 218 new village savings and loans groups were launched in 2017 to finance revenue-generating activities; (9) 17 local government bodies were trained in the integration of nutrition into their local plans and programmes; and (10) 94 technical service agents from the government’s decentralized agriculture and livestock services were trained and equipped to provide support and counseling to poor households. Once the training completed, these decentralized services were, for the first time, able to put in place annual service work plans.
Results achieved as of December 2016 include: (1) increased accessibility to nutrition services by the implementation of 200 equipped new nutrition service delivery points in addition to the 211 already in place; (2) 330 vulnerable households, supported with equipment, material and training, engaged in high nutritive value animal husbandry and in fruit tree cultivation; (3) 148 women benefitted from credit to finance income generating activities to enable them to improve the food security of their households. These have contributed to improving the nutritional practices and increasing the accessibility of nutritious food for the women and children of Kolda and Kédougou.