By Zenabou Bere, Communications Manager, SOS Sahel Burkina Faso
"...we have understood and become aware that most of the problems we encounter are common to communities elsewhere. We can help each other overcome nutrition problems, and each of us can contribute by sharing what we learn and know to find solutions." — Alimata Sawadogo, mother of four from Pien, a village in Burkina Faso’s Ziro Province
Malnutrition was a significant public health problem affecting the lives of women and children in Burkina Faso’s Ziro Province, prompting SOS Sahel Burkina Faso, a local grassroots organization working to improve nutrition in the area, to launch Projet d’appui à la lutte contre la malnutrition dans la Province du Ziro (PALM-ZIRO) in October 2021—an initiative made possible through USAID Advancing Nutrition and USAID’s New Partnerships Initiative (NPI).
PALM-ZIRO focused on supporting families in rural and remote areas to adopt health and nutrition-related behaviors, and improve access to health and nutrition services for women and children. The project coordinated a range of community-based activities to prevent and manage cases of severe and moderate acute malnutrition in collaboration with 33 health centers in 59 villages, in six municipalities in Ziro Province. The project’s activities directly benefited more than 25,000 pregnant and lactating women and children under the age of five, with an extension program that included malnutrition screening, monitoring, and follow-up, as well as social and behavior change communication on infant and young child feeding best practices.
In February 2023, PALM-ZIRO partnered with NPI-sister project Projet d’Action contre la malnutrition dans le Centre-Oues (PAMCO), implemented by PanAfricare in the Sanguié Province, to organize an exchange visit. The exchange visit allowed staff from the two projects to share experiences and expertise. A few participants from the PALM-ZIRO project were also invited to participate in the exchange visit to learn from the experiences of others benefitting from PanAfricare’s efforts. Invitees included Alimata Sawadogo, mother of four, and Aminata Gnangao, mother of three, from Pien village in Ziro Province.