- Project: Growing Nutrition for Mothers and Children (GROW)
- Goal: To improve nutrition in women of reproductive age (15-49) and children under five years
- Target group: Poor, food-insecure mothers, newborns and children
- Where: Ethiopia, Oromia Regions (East and West Hararghe), and Afar Region
- Duration: 2016-2020 (4 years)
- Project reach: 188,958 women, children and men directly reached & over 825,218 individuals indirectly reached
Many families who participated in the GROW project experienced improvements in their health and nutritional status as they started practicing healthier behaviors. More parents are now breastfeeding their infants exclusively until they reach six months old, as recommended by experts. In fact, exclusively breastfed infants increased from 56% at the start of the project to 76% at the end. Infants aged 6-23 months reaching the minimum dietary diversity recommendations increased from 26% to 47%. Older children are also being fed more often and eating more diverse foods. As a result, childhood stunting (linked to chronic undernutrition) decreased from 44% to 33%. Dietary diversity among women who participated in the project also improved.
Some of the men who participated in GROW started taking on new household responsibilities (especially when their partners were away, pregnant, or breastfeeding), creating more balance in the gendered division of labor. They also became more comfortable discussing nutrition and accompanying their children and wives to growth monitoring and promotion sessions, which rarely happened before the program. Joint decision-making and women’s confidence in negotiating with their partners also seemed to improve over the life of the project.
Participants also experienced some economic benefits. Many of the women who joined Village Savings and Loan Associations formed through the project reported that their access to and control over financial resources improved, and they learned new entrepreneurial skills.
For more details on GROW’s impact, see the project brief.