Behaviour Change Workshop on the Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA).

How do we inspire behavior change to improve the nutrition of women and children?  A Behaviour Change Workshop on the Essential Nutrition Actions.

To help the FOF team answer this question, on February 12th – 17th, Helen Keller International (HKI) hosted a six-day training on Behaviour Change Communication focusing on the Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA). The action-oriented workshop was facilitated by Maryanne Stone-Jimenez, a Toronto based Registered Nurse who is an expert in infant and young child feeding and provides trainings around the world on low-technology community based behavior change communication. Stone-Jimeneze draws on over 30 years of practical experience working in the field, writing policy and designing nutrition trainings for field staff.

Training participants included HKI staff, three UBC students, and high level representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Education.

Adult learning strategies were the focus of the workshop.  All activities were interactive and designed to engage the participants in problem solving using the their current knowledge to enhance the messages in the activities. Principles of counseling were also highlighted and woven into the innovative activities.

The training was modeled on the community learning environment, effectively offering participants the opportunity to practice communication strategies they will use in the field.  Low technology equipment, such as flip-chart paper, markers, picture cards and common fruit and vegetables, was used to demonstrate that effective communication is about interaction rather than resources.

Here you can see Maryanne demonstrating how much of a child’s energy needs are met up to six, twelve and twenty-four months of age using water and water bottles.

These behavior change communication strategies were focused on conveying topics drawn from the Essential Nutrition Actions. Some key topics covered were nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, recommended breastfeeding practices, prevention of and solutions for common breastfeeding difficulties, recommended complementary feeding practices for children from 6-24 months, and feeding a sick child.

Gender, an important aspect of the FOF project, was an underlying theme of the workshop. For example, one idea was to include men in the bi-monthly FOF counseling sessions with caretakers in an effort to involve men at home and to support improved nutrition for women, infants and children.

Here you can see the male workshop participants actively learning about breastfeeding.

Now that the workshop has concluded, the next steps are to train the field staff who will work directly with the FOF communities. Lessons from the workshop will be incorporated into the nutrition curriculum in the bi-monthly Fish On Farms (FOF) family counseling sessions for FOF participants.

By: Sophia Baker-French & Vashti Timmermans

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