Nanagade January 2012


Post: Nanagadé

Date(s) of project: March 2012

Brief description of Project:

The funds from the GSP will, if approved, support a women’s group in Nanagadé seeking to combat malnutrition among children aged 6 months to five years through the production and sale of “just-add-water” hot cereal packets. The program also will encourage economic development and collaboration through a partnership with the community health relays. The group we are planning to work with on this initiative was created in 2010 and last year worked on a rice growing and harvesting initiative for their personal use, but has been interested in expanding their projects to those with a communal aspect as well. The women first expressed interest in working on projects relating to childhood nutrition following a training session on balanced meals and again expressed their interest following a training session on diarrhea. The framework for this program was then created working in collaboration with the health center and the women’s group following the RCH IST in December using pieces of the suggested PD Hearth and Care Groups.
The initial women’s group was composed of around 40 women, but a smaller group of 20 women and one (male) adviser has been selected to work on this initiative by a process of self selection followed by a round of voting among the women. This was done to reduce the number to a size in which it could be reasonably assumed that all participants would be involved, yet would also allow a reasonable ‘buffer zone’ in which there would be a sufficient number of women at any one time to work on production of the hot cereal regardless of their other work and family obligations.
Since this is a woman’s group that is currently working on a successful rice initiative they have a president, vice president and treasurer that all members voted on and have successfully worked with in the past. These women will be those primarily in charge of seeing that the group’s stated goals are achieved and can work to overcome any obstacles that arise. The women have stated their goals to be 1) promoting and supporting community health through providing “just-add-water” hot cereal packets made from nutritionally rich, locally grown ingredients and 2) promoting women’s empowerment through collaborative economic development.
According to current estimates (taken at the health center), around 17% of the population of Nanagadé is under five years old and one of the primary health concerns pertaining to these children is malnutrition. A direct correlation is seen between the primary weaning period, beginning at six months, and the increase in the percentage of children that are undernourished or malnourished. One of the primary staple foods that is used during this weaning period is corn or millet based cereal and is undoubtedly a contributing factor to the poor nourishment of the children during the weaning period. The women’s group intends to provide an alternative, nutritionally rich, hot cereal made using locally available soy flour, flour created from pounded fish, baobab flour and corn flour. The baobab, soy and corn is grown locally and fish are also available; the women will purchase all of these ingredients thus locally, ensuring both long term sustainability and the potential for mothers in town to replicate the flour. The ingredients used to create the hot cereal will be stored in a portion of a building recently built for their rice initiative that has not been used (due to a smaller crop yield than expected). After the hot cereal flour has been created the prepared product will be stored in plastic containers until it is sold.
The women plan to make the packets of hot cereal available for sale to both the community health relays as well as a group of select ‘star mothers’. These ‘star mothers’ are women that have volunteered to train other mothers (that have children identified as being moderately malnourished) on how to create nutritionally rich meals. The ‘star mothers’ are women whose children have been identified, through monthly baby weighings, as maintaining a healthy weight for several months. The ‘star mothers’ have received training at the beginning of the year on how to prepare four different meals fortified with extra calories and protein to facilitate the recuperation of moderately malnourished children in addition to training on how to explain and emphasize the importance of balanced meals, proper hygiene pertaining to meal preparation and weaning techniques. Each ‘star mother’ will be responsible for training 3-4 other mothers on how to create these meals. During these training sessions, conducted at the star mothers’ homes, the ‘star mothers’ will also provide training on balanced meals, hygiene and weaning.
The packets will not be available for sale directly from the women’s group to encourage community members to go directly to the community relays (who are responsible for monitoring the growth of the children in the community) and in the process respect the monthly baby weighings,. The community relays will also carry the packets of hot cereal while conducting monthly home visits to screen for malnourished children. The packets will also be available for purchase from the group of ‘star mothers’ so that mothers can purchase the hot cereal during the training sessions that focus on nutritionally rich meals. The packets of hot cereal will be sold at 50 fcfa a packet and the profits generated from the women’s group will be used to offset labor costs and to purchase additional materials as needed. Currently the women’s group works with no other groups and has been looking for ways to collaborate with other groups. Although there will be a focus on encouraging families of malnourished children to buy and create their own fortified hot cereal, any community member will be able to approach either the community relays and the ‘star mothers’ to buy the packets. By restricting the sale of the sachets from the women’s group to only the community relays and the ‘star mothers’, collaboration between the women’s group, the ‘star mothers’ and the community relays will be encouraged and families will be encouraged to attend the monthly baby weighings to screen for malnourished children.
The women also plan to provide trainings to other community members on both the nutritional benefits of the hot cereal as well as instruction on how to make the hot cereal at home. The women in the women’s group will conduct these trainings during vaccination days at the health clinic. Currently four different women have volunteered to provide the trainings, rotating with one woman providing each weekly training session. If, for some reason, the women are unavailable they have decided to let one of the community relays that commonly works at the vaccination days know, and he has volunteered to provide the trainings on the days the women are unavailable. The health center in Nanagadé commonly vaccinates between 60-90 children each week, thus providing a good audience. Although the majority of these children are less than six months old (and thus should not be consuming the hot cereal yet), a high proportion of the mothers have other children at home so the trainings will reach a receptive audience. In addition, if the women can encourage good nutritional habits before the children reach the critical weaning period it is less likely the children will fall victim to malnutrition.
Facilitating collaboration between women’s groups and health workers (in this case the community relays) is an important step in women’s empowerment by encouraging women to take a proactive role in their health and the health of their children. In addition, through the trainings other community members will come to respect the women as reliable sources of information and valuable work partners.

Number of people involved:

# of
# of Service Providers (work partners, Project co-organizers,
technicians, animators, etc.)
Women over 24 13 1
Men over 24 3 3
Girls 15-24 7
Boys 15-24
Girls under 15
Boys under 15


Item Number Unit Cost Total Cost
Baobab 25 kg 400 10.000
Corn 150kg 100 15.000
Fish 25 kg 320 8.000
Soy 100 kg 160 16.000
Packet of Sachets 1 1.000 1.000
Labor 4 days 1.500 6.000
Total 56.000

Amount Requested: 50.000

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