Eat what you grow – innovation plan Sierra Leone SUNICSP-SL

Awarded by the SUN CS Innovation Plan competition SUNI CSP-SL is implementing the “Eat What You Grow” project.

Through effective multi-stakeholder collaboration among local CSOs, authorities, farmers, religious leaders etc, SUNI CSP-SL is tackling the specific causes of malnutrition in the district, and undertake awareness, social mobilisation and communication activities to promote a behavioural change of the population. Training selected “champions” and “master farmers” is also be part of the strategy, in order to ensure sustainability and set the basis for scaling up the activities to other districts.

Following an initial assessment which involved all local stakeholders (gov, ngo, community), SUNI CSP-SL identified the specific causes, dynamics and dimension of the problem and agreed on key targeted population, type of mobilization/activities needed.

Food taboos have been also discussed during the assessment to have a complete understanding of the nutrition behavioural habits (decision are not taken only based on food accessibility).

The project tackled some of the food taboos identified, for example:
• Pregnant women should not eat plantain for fear that the penis of the male child will be large
• Lactating mothers in the first forty days after childbirth should not eat vegetables, palm oil,
fish, meat etc. ( because it is not good for the baby)
• Children should not eat banana, fish, egg or meat

Excellent mobilization and training has been conducted (video documentary here), to mainstream correct health and nutrition practices and to foster local champions who will propagate and continue advocating for the correct practices, addressing taboos, habits and interfacing with local stakeholders.

Expected result: Targeted vulnerable groups in Koinadugu district will change their dietary habits and increase their consumption of nutritious, locally-produced foods. The changes will result in an improvement in their nutritional status. Targeted beneficiaries: approximately 2,000 people in Koinadugu, Northern District of Sierra Leone.

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