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Mothers Come Together to Cook and Learn Complementary Feeding

State and Development Partner

Bihar

JEEVIKA Bihar, Project Concern International 

Problem

Complementary Feeding (CF) practices, particularly dietary diversity and minimum adequate diet in Bihar has largely remained at low levels of 7.5 as per National Family Health Survey-4 amonp children between 6-23 months. This is often because mothers do not know when to start complementary feeding or worry if the infant will be able to dipest foods that adults consume. Demystifying complementary feeding through information dissemination does not guarantee that it is retained and practised. Behavioural solutions that remind and help build social practice are necessary to break the barriers around complementary feeding.

Conventional Solution

Traditionally, this information is provided by frontline workers (FLW) using information, educational and communication tools like flip charts and posters. However, despite the FLW's door-to-door efforts, once she leaves, this information is likely forgotten as women get busy with other chores.

Behavioural Insights Based Solution

As part of the Bihar Rural Livelihood Mission locally known as JEEViKA, multiple channels are being used to reiterate and reinforce behaviour change messages related to complementary feeding. Home-visits by members of the village health sub- committee to the critical households provides face to face counsel on relevant issues like complementary feeding to new and expectant mothers. Reminder stickers tell mothers what foods can be cooked and how they can be prepared for complementary feeding act as a behavioural nudge. bothers are encouraged to place these stickers in the kitchen to remind them about complementary feeding practices at the time of cooking. Another innovative practise is the community cooking and feeding initiative that not only makes this practice a social event but also demonstrates easy to remember recipes that anyone can replicate at home. Community cooking also generates discussion around complementary feeding, thus creating an enabling environment for it to become a household practice. When these messages are received from multiple touchpoints, women remember them better and also imbibe them in daily life.

Impact

Dietary diversity has more than doubled among the households that have received the intervention, and stickiness of the message was also greater in the group that received the messages. I bothers retain this information better thanks to JEEVi KA's inspiring work. The campaigns rolled out in the year 2O18 in 11 districts of the state covering 8O14 village organisations (a federation of SHGs) and approximately 8O,OOO SHGs currently cover 4OO blocks in 38 districts of Bihar. The community-level behaviour changes have been testified by a population level household survey conducted by CARE the state in the month of January 2019, after the rollout of the campaign. The analysis of data collected during the CARE HH survey showed significant improvement of more than two-fold increase in key complementary feeding indicators, i.e. minimum dietary diversity and minimum acceptable diet.

Source : Stories of Change from India's Aspirational districts - NITI Aayog publication

Last Modified : 5/10/2022



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