28 September 2023

First 1,000 Days Formative Study Report

Poor nutrition during the most crucial period for children’s growth and development – the first 1,000 days through pregnancy until a child’s second birthday – can cause irreversible damage to a child’s growing brain and limit their growth potential. In turn, these developmental effects will have ripple effects, affecting that child’s ability to do well in school and ultimately the number of children who are able to rise out of poverty and contribute to the larger society and economy (FHI Solutions LLC, 2022). It is well established that a variety of factors contribute to maternal, infant, young child and adolescent nutrition (MIYCAN). While hygiene practices and access to adequate nutrition, health, social protection and health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services are essential for optimal nutrition and health outcomes, the causes of malnutrition are complex and deeply rooted in household and community-level factors, extending to sociocultural contextual and structural factors in the larger society. Notable among these contextual factors, and less well understood, are social and gender norms, which affect women’s and girls’ ability to achieve equal health, education and socioeconomic outcomes. To obtain an in-depth understanding of the factors leading to MIYCAN, health and WASH key practices in Nigeria during the first 1,000 days of life, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) commissioned this formative research study.
22 December 2022

Fathers leading the way to adequate nutrition

Washing, cooking, feeding children – these are all tasks expected of mothers in addition to breastfeeding and childcare in Nigeria. It was a great sight to see a different scene play out in Bombori and Kalidafi, two settlements in Nguru, a Local Government Area in Yobe State, Northeastern Nigeria. Here, men like Muhammed Alhassan, Muhammad Audu…, Muhammed showing his daughter, fondly called Fatima 1, how to tend their vegetable garden, igniting in her, an early interest in small-scale farming for home food and sharing knowledge on the classes of food she needs in her diet, UNICEF/UN0755286/Apochi Owoicho A man tending to his poultry Muhammed at his home poultry, Muhammed at his backyard poultry. The poultry provides his family with eggs and chicken which improves the dietary diversity of the meals he provides for his children., UNICEF/UN0755280/Apochi Owoicho Muhammed folding clothes while his wife breastfed Muhammed folding clothes while his wife breastfed, Muhammed supporting his wife to achieve exclusive breastfeeding. By taking responsibility for house chores like laundry, sweeping and cooking, his wife can get enough rest, leading to better milk production for their 6-month-old baby, Fatima II., UNICEF/UN0755295/Apochi Owoicho A father and daughter watering their garden A man tending to his poultry Muhammed folding clothes while his wife breastfed "When I heard from the nutrition officers that if my children are breastfed and eat the right food that includes vegetables, fruits and proteins when they are older, they will not fall sick, I…, At the Bombori Primary Healthcare Centre, Nguru, Nutrition Officers teach parents like Muhammad how to combine food items to guarantee dietary diversity using ingredients readily available in their community., UNICEF/UN0755322/Apochi Audu family at the health centre Beyond receiving training on combining food items, Muhammad also receives packets of micronutrient powder for his two children to address any nutrient deficiency they may have., Beyond receiving training on combining food items, Muhammad also receives packets of micronutrient powder for his two children to address any nutrient deficiency they may have., UNICEF/UN0755321/Apochi Owoicho A family standing in front of a health centre Since attending information sessions and receiving packets of micronutrient powder at the Health Centre, Muhammad has seen the effect on his children. He only takes them for routine immunization and screening. His children are health and don't fall sick, Since attending information sessions and receiving packets of micronutrient powder at the Health Centre, Muhammad has seen the effect on his children. He only takes them for routine immunization and screening. His children are health and don't fall sick, UNICEF/UN0755316/Apochi Owoicho A family receiving information at a health centre Audu family at the health centre A family standing in front of a health centre Lukman Ngibrima In Kalifadi settlement, Nguru, Lukman, a 45-year-old health worker practices what he preaches. I have 11 children and they all enjoyed exclusive breastfeeding. It was not…