What is a nutrition club?
It is a sustainable, community managed behavior change intervention to prevent and manage child malnutrition and increase access of the most vulnerable families to food security and agriculture opportunities.
What does a nutrition club do?
1. To increase the knowledge and skills of caregivers of children under five years for infant and young child feeding and caring practices.
2. To monitor the growth of all children attending the nutrition club and counsel caregivers about their child's nutrition status.
3. To strengthen the knowledge and skills of community nutrition collaborators and village health workers to enable effective facilitation of Nutrition Club Sessions for infant and young child feeding, child care and child protection from accidents.
4. To increase awareness with community leaders about child nutrition and advocate for local resources for sustaining the Nutrition Club events.
Does it work?
Yes! Caregivers report improved feeding practices especially providing their children an increased variety and amount of food. Several caregivers had started home gardens, starting using organic fertilizer and joined the chicken raising interest group that provides eggs and chicken to their child's diet. One mother proudly showed the special patch of garden that she kept especially for her daughter's vegetables.
At a kindergarten competition, teams of parents including fathers of malnourished children competed for the prize by producing the most nutritious complementary meals with locally available foods. The teams also answered nutrition and childcare questions from a panel of local community leaders. All the teams demonstrated good knowledge and skills for infant and young child feeding practices.
The district and commune health staff reported an increased attendance at antenatal care and delivery at the district hospital. Several caregivers reported increased support from their partner and household members for attendance at the nutrition club, as they saw the benefits for their child's health.
The nutrition club effectively utilizes available resources. As nutrition club facilitators also hold various other community leadership positions such as: women's union, village development board and community health worker, it is easy for them to link community members to interest groups and other locally available opportunities.
Sustainability and scalability
From the beginning of implementation of the nutrition club approach, sustainability is promoted by ensuring effective community mobilization. An agreement is made between the community development board and WVV that WVV will support startup costs and provide running costs for the first four years of operations.
Who is involved and what's the impact?
World Vision Vietnam, the National Institute of Nutrition, the district and commune health staff and community partners are to be commended for the huge achievement of successfully establishing and scaling up the nutrition club approach to reach 521 villages and 17,025 children, living in vulnerable communities in some of the most remote districts in the country.
*All donations to One Goal will support World Vision Malaysia projects in Vietnam to improve child nutrition.