Communicating nutrition-sensitive agriculture in Zambia: the case of Kakunka and Manengo women's nutrition clubs in Mumbwa distrct of central provice
Kakunta, Yotam Christopher
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This study examined the opportunities and challenges faced by the SUN Project in the Ministry of Agriculture, in communicating nutrition-sensitive agricultural messages to the public. The study was conducted in Mumbwa District of the Central Province. The student was attached to the SUN Project, which has been promoting nutrition-sensitive interventions to the Kankunka and Manengo Women’s clubs. The aim of the study was to examine how the project provides extension and information services to rural farmers, in particular women; in order to reduce malnutrition levels in their communities using locally grown foods. The study used triangulation method. Sampling was purposive. 24 questionnaires were distributed to the two clubs as follows; 13 questionnaires for Kankunka Women club members and 11 for Manengo Women club members. 13 questionnaires were also distributed to NAIS journalists. Two focus group discussions were conducted with the two women groups and five in-depth interviews with officers from the Ministry/ SUN project were also conducted. The findings of the study were that despite the SUN Project having a well-designed Communications Strategy, it had not fully been implemented in reaching out to its targeted audiences. The study further revealed that mass communication channels were insufficiently utilised and that 63 percent of NAIS journalists confirmed that they were not involved in the sensitisation programmes despite being mandated to do so. The project’s nutrition-sensitive messages were however, disseminated through the Camp Extension Officers. It is recommended that the project establishes a full-time Communications Office to implement the communication strategy using an integrated communication approach. The project should also re-engage NAIS and find a common understanding in implementing the strategy. It should also design a feedback mechanism which will facilitate participation of all the players in the project implementation. The project should also consider use multi-media approaches in order to reach a wider audience. The SUN Project has, however, achieved some major strides in helping reducing malnutrition among children, pregnant and lactating mothers in Mumbwa District.