In Bangladesh, gender equity is essential for improving nutrition outcomes. Inequitable intra-household food distribution and demands on womenâs time constrain their ability to adopt optimal nutrition practices and contribute to household food security. Helen Keller International (HKI) adapted its Nurturing ConnectionsÂ© (NC) curriculum, which challenges existing gender norms, with the aim of addressing gender inequities in production as a pathway to improved nutrition outcomes.
The existing curriculum first underwent a desk review and was then pilot-tested over three months among five communities. Continuous qualitative monitoring informed ongoing adaptation and development throughout the process. The manual consists of ten sessions, where key family members (wives, husbands, and âin laws) build skills in communication and problem-solving to discuss nutrition and production (e.g., decision-making and control over resources and income) and gender-related problems in separate peer groups first, and then share their perspectives in a mediated, community-group setting.
Post session qualitative assessments revealed that participantsâ awareness and practice of sharing food equitably within the household, adequate micronutrient intake for pregnant and lactating women, and supporting mothers in domestic tasks to allow adequate time for breastfeeding increased. The result is a customized and tested behaviour change tool that is adaptable and replicable.
The NC approach is effective in addressing gender inequities and is easily adapted to local contexts. HKI supports its wider use in the context of agriculture and nutrition programs.