Child Malnutrition: UNICEF Excited About Outcomes Of Dietary Diversity Project In Kano State

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UNICEF

By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has expressed satisfaction that its Dietary Diversity Project in Kano State has been successful.
The innovative solution to tackle child malnutrition became necessary following the year 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey report which revealed poor average infant feeding practices in Kano, with low dietary diversity, minimum meal frequency and a minimum acceptable diet for children aged 6 – 23 months.
The survey also found low consumption rate of meat, dairy and eggs in the state.
Another study – the 2019 dietary diversity baseline survey – reported a similar trend of low consumption of animal foods, reinforcing the need for the project in Kano State.
“Under the project, implemented through the NGO, Society for Women Development and Empowerment of Nigeria (SWODEN), in collaboration with Kano State Government, each mother’s support group of 15 members receives three goats for rearing, or one goat for each five members,” UNICEF said in a news statement dated 23rd February 2021.
According to the UN agency, the success of the dietary diversity project in Kano State presents Nigeria with something significant to share with global community when the world meets to discuss Food Systems at the UN summit in September.
Chickens are part of the livestocks that are distributed for poultry farming to Gala Mothers Support Group, UNICEF clarified.
The international authority on children’s well-being pointed out that success of the project has ignited social change in many communities.
UNICEF highlighted that some mothers are beginning to make voluntary contributions to buy more goats, and the traditional leaders in Gala and Rimi have provided free land to local support groups for farming.
“Reducing stunting is a hugely  important area of UNICEF,” Elhadji Diop, UNICEF Nutrition Manager at the Kano Field Office, said.
Diop disclosed that the dietary diversity project in Kano was conceptualized in year 2018 to contribute to achieving that critical goal.
She explained that Kano State was selected because of the high levels of stunting and low levels of consumption of several food groups, especially animal proteins and vegetables.
Diop declared: “We are excited that the project has been such a success where it is being implemented.
“We will now use the evidence of its success to advocate for replicating the intervention across all LGAe (local government areas) in Kano State.”

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