On 1 January 2017, GRET launched a new project aiming to raise awareness of people living in urban areas of Antananarivo via an innovative nutrition education programme, with support from the Principality of Monaco.
Malnutrition is the main cause of child mortality in Madagascar and is directly or indirectly responsible for 54 % of deaths of children under the age of 5. Among the different forms of malnutrition, the least visible and most forgotten of all is chronic malnutrition, which is manifested in retarded growth and leads to side effects that are irreversible in adults. 47% of Malagasy children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition caused by inappropriate feeding habits and illness. In view of this, in 2013 GRET and four other partners launched the Nutri’zaza social business to make a quality complementary food as affordable as possible for families. However, only 3 % of the population use complementary food appropriately. The project is being implemented in this context to strengthen nutrition education actions, especially in urban areas in Antananarivo, where the rate of chronic malnutrition is 46.8%.
Funded by the government of the Principality of Monaco, this programme is being implemented by GRET over a period of 3 years, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, the National Nutrition Office (ONN), the Ministry of the Population & Social Protection, and the Urban Community of Antananarivo. It aims to improve the nutrition practices and knowledge of 12,000 families with children under the age of two and 7,500 breastfeeding women in 30 fokontany (districts) in Antananarivo. In order to reach this objective, the project is focusing on consolidating the ONN’s awareness-raising policy, strengthening the nutrition skills of 250 health service staff and 60 community health workers. It is also implementing a pilot strategy based on developing complementary awareness-raising activities, among which: a media campaign to raise awareness at national level, community-based awareness-raising via group sessions within neighbourhoods and innovative customised awareness-raising via mobile phone in partnership with social business Voto Mobile. 6,000 families with children under the age of one will be subscribed to a service enabling them to receive text messages and/or customised voice messages on recommended infant nutrition practices.