Nutrition community of practice: Promotion of diversified foods uptake at community level
Part of our mandate at the Makerere University Center of Excellence for Maternal Newborn and Child Health is to create strong and sustainable networks. In this regard, we are working on a partnership with United States Agency on International Development (USAID) and partners on the USAID’s (their Partners on) Maternal Child Health and Nutrition Activity (MCHN). As part of the implementation activities, a Community of Practice engagement which focused on the promotion of diversified foods uptake at the community level was passed out and highlights were documented by the organizers as listed below:
- Strengthen partnerships with actors at different levels, create synergize, layer interventions to empower families to achieve dietary diversity for example USAID ICAN (Integrated Community Agriculture and Nutrition) works with various partners including Goats for milk, and others with vegetable and perm gardens.
- Monitor and learn from implementation of the MYCAN strategy and its impact on nutrition outcomes to inform program improvement, policy, and strategy to improve nutrition in Uganda.
- Integrate nutrition with response and development programs as part of the continuum of response including other health programs and socio-economic initiatives.
- Promote a variety of nutritious foods for a balanced diet such as poultry, dairy products, and fruits in addition to vegetables that have been emphasized in nutrition programs. The general attitude is that nutrition programs are about vegetables and therefore, actors tend to focus on vegetable gardens and sideline the other varieties that also need to be focused on.
- Integrate livelihoods with nutrition interventions to allow farmers to grow for consumption as well as sell to obtain income to access other nutrient-rich foods.
- Increase awareness through mass media, community dialogues, demonstrations, and other innovative means on production and preparation of diversified nutrient-rich food types.
- Broaden the membership of the community of practice to non-USAID partners to include other actors working on food/nutrition-related goals.
- Work with partners, government, civil society, private sector, and community on devising means of addressing factors that affect the achievement of nutrition goals including access to water for production, access to markets, climate change and security among other issues.
- Address social norms, attitudes, and practices that affect nutrition such as the social-economic status linked to processed foods (fast foods) whereas vegetables and other nutrient-rich food such as silverfish (mukene) are associated with poverty. Household heads are buying alcohol instead of nutritious food.
- Researching the promotion of context-specific interventions and farming methods suitable for different areas for example drought-prone areas, swampy areas, and urban areas. Promotion of learning and adaptation of new crops and farming methods should not be excluded i.e. adapting green farms in other areas beyond Karamoja.
To participate in the upcoming events for this Community of Practice group please follow our monthly newsletter and reach out to the coordinator with the details below.
USAID Integrated Community Agriculture and Nutrition Activity
Mirembe Business Centre, 3rd Floor, Wing A
Plot 46, Lugogo By Pass, Kampala