Online Program

Women's empowerment, participation in mother-to-mother support groups and nutritional outcomes for children under age two

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Noor Tirmizi, PhD, CARE USA, Atlanta, GA
Fodie Maguiraga, Global Health Department, Emory University/CARE, Atlanta, GA
Alyssa Lowe, MPH, Nutrition Plus, Health Equity Unit, CARE USA, Atlanta, GA
Allison Prather, MPH, Nutrition Plus, Health Equity Unit, CARE USA, Atlanta, GA
Ann DiGirolamo, PhD, MPH, Nutrition Plus, Health Equity Unit, CARE USA, Atlanta, GA
Alfred Makavore, Health, CARE Sierra Leone, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Sayoh Francis, BA, Health, CARE Sierra Leone, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Musa Braima, Health, CARE Sierra Leone, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Lenette Golding, PhD, MPH, Nutrition Plus, Health Equity Unit, CARE USA, Atlanta, GA
Bethann Cottrell, PhD, Food and Nutrition Security Unit, CARE USA, Atlanta, GA
Undernutrition is a leading, underlying cause of death in young children and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. In Sierra Leone (SL), over a third of children under five are stunted and one in five is underweight (DHS 2008). CARE's Window of Opportunity program (WOP) aimed to improve the nutritional status of children in SL and implemented mother-to-mother support groups (MtMSGs) as a key intervention. MtMSGs served to promote optimal infant and young child feeding (IYCF) and to empower women.

Baseline and endline evaluations assessed changes in nutritional status and endline evaluations measured participation in MtMSGs and women's decision-making ability as a component of women's empowerment.

From baseline to endline, nutritional status of children aged 6-23 months improved from 33% to 20% for stunting, 21% to 16% for underweight, and 13% to 10% for wasting. More than half of eligible mothers (51%) participated in at least one MtMSG and 44% participated within the past month at the time of survey. Women overwhelmingly reported that their husbands alone made the majority of decisions in the household (72-82%), in areas such as participating in support groups, seeking healthcare, and earning and spending money. Food distribution in the household was an exception, in which 66% of women reported making these decisions alone. Analyses examining relationships between mothers' participation in MtMSGs, women's decision-making, and children's nutritional outcomes will be presented.

These findings will add to the growing body of research on measuring women's empowerment and evaluating linkages between empowerment, MtMSG participation and child nutritional outcomes.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe examples of indicators used to measure women's empowerment in international community-based nutrition programs. Discuss relationships between women's empowerment indicators, women's participation in mother-to-mother support groups, and child nutritional outcomes.

Keyword(s): Food and Nutrition, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work as a program officer for the project I will be presenting on.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.