Behaviors are central to the immediate and underlying causes of malnutrition. Social and behavior change (SBC) plays an important role in achieving and sustaining improved nutrition outcomes. SBC requires a range of activities that promote, enable, model optimal behaviors. In Ghana, USAID Advancing Nutrition found that working with local leaders and within existing community structures was key to shifting social norms and integrating promotion into a range of activities related to agriculture, nutrition, responsive care, sanitation, environmental health and food safety.
USAID Advancing Nutrition provided technical and logistical support to district multi-sectoral nutrition teams to present and discuss a movie on stunting prevention, organize cooking demonstrations, and conduct integrated community meetings. During cooking demonstrations, community members learned how to use locally available foods to prepare nutritious meals for their households. This approach engaged traditional community leaders and heads of households across 460 communities in 17 districts, actively promoting agriculture, nutrition, responsive care, sanitation, and hygiene best practices.
We also collaborated with 340 village savings and loan associations (VSLA) and mother-to-mother support groups (MTMSGs) in 17 districts across northern Ghana. We trained VSLA and MTMSG members to conduct cooking demonstrations and facilitated discussions around educational videos to promote nutrition behaviors to prevent anemia and malnutrition during their regular monthly meetings. Through these efforts, USAID Advancing nutrition—
- engaged more than 10,000 VSLA and MTMSG members, primarily pregnant and lactating women, and mothers of young children, in actively promoting key agriculture, nutrition, responsive care, sanitation, and hygiene practices
- reached over 60,000 community members with messages about optimal behaviors
- supported VSLA and MTMSG members in saving over three million Ghana cedis, so that it can be invested in family nutrition and health care.