Big Win supports launch of social movement to reduce child malnutrition in Mozambique
Big Win Philanthropy is supporting the launch of a social movement to dramatically reduce malnutrition among children under 5 years old in Nampula province, Mozambique. Currently, 50.1% of children under 5 years old in the province are stunted, affecting their physical development and cognitive capacity for the rest of their lives.
Acting on the initiative of the provincial governor, Victor Borges, a broad coalition of government, civil society, community groups and the private sector came together to develop the movement, which aims to catalyze community action to improve nutrition practices and reduce stunting. The movement has been named Dieta Diversificada, Um Futuro Saudável (Diverse Diet, Healthy Future).
Big Win is providing technical and financial support for the initiative, working closely with the provincial government and the Foundation for Community Development (FDC), a Maputo-based charity founded and led by Graça Machel, the humanitarian and former First Lady of Mozambique.
Speaking about the launch, Big Win CEO Dr Kesete Adamsu said:
“We are proud to be supporting the provincial government and Governor Victor Borges in this ambitious initiative to end stunting in Nampula province.
“When we were approached about supporting this initiative, we were immediately excited about the potential not only to improve the lives and life prospects of young people in Nampula, but to help the Governor and his team create something that could serve as a model for the country and the continent.
“Big Win partners with visionary African leaders to achieve transformational change for their countries. When we met Governor Borges, it was immediately clear he had a genuine commitment to reducing malnutrition and a clear vision for how this could be achieved.”
The objective of the movement is to improve nutritional practices in communities where malnutrition rates are alarmingly high. Although Nampula is known the “breadbasket” of the country thanks to its agricultural productivity, its malnutrition rates are well above the national average.
Research carried out by Big Win, at the request of Governor Borges, sought to determine the key drivers of stunting the province, examining families’ food purchase, cooking, and consumption behaviors. The results of the research revealed the complex set of behavioral drivers that contribute to the high rate of stunting and made it clear that a new approach was needed which engaged communities from the ground up, rather than the top down.
Informed by these insights, the movement will empower communities and households to be the agents of change, giving them the information and tools that they need to ensure that every child has a healthy start to life. It will establish community groups to support pregnant and nursing women and families with babies and young children to improve their nutrition practices.
The movement will also spearhead the implementation of community-level growth monitoring, helping to ensure that all children under 5 years old are growing at healthy rates and are regularly assessed for signs of malnutrition.
The initiative will be supported by additional training for health workers, ensuring that they are equipped to provide families with guidance on good nutritional practices and on how to diagnose and treat malnutrition.
Big Win is supporting the creation and implementation of a dashboard in order to visualize and monitor the progress of the movement towards reducing stunting. Progress will be reviewed on a monthly basis at both the district and provincial levels.
The range of community stakeholders who will be engaged in the movement was represented at the launch on May 9, 2019 in Rapale, one of the ten districts in the province where the movement will be rolled out.
Demonstrations were held of home gardens and market stalls containing the diverse range of foods that families need for a good diet. Several hundred members of the public, local officials and dignitaries attended.
Governor Borges attended the launch, along with provincial and district officials, and senior representatives from Big Win including CEO Dr Kesete Admasu, Africa Representative Patricia Ndegwa, and consultant Dr Ferew Lemma.
Speaking shortly before the launch, Governor Borges underscored the importance and urgency of the initiative, noting: “Our people suffer from one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the country. By empowering communities to take action and equipping our health workers with the information and tools they need to prevent and diagnose malnutrition, we can put an end to this. We owe it to our children to act now, before it is too late.”