Despite a recent decline, child malnutrition rates in Burkina Faso remain high. A community-based nutrition program was implemented in the region Tougan. Monthly Growth Monitoring and Promotion (GMP) sessions at village level were entry points for an intervention package: cooking demonstrations, Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) counseling, and provision of micronutrient powders (MNP’s) to caregivers of children 6-23 months.
Two qualitative studies were performed at the start and mid-term of the project. In-depth interviews were held with 30 purposively selected mothers of children aged 0-23 months, from 10 program villages. Additionally 6 community-health workers (CHWs) and 5 NGO workers were interviewed. Data were transcribed using NVivo and analysed by the following themes: child feeding practices, experiences with GMP sessions, and experiences with MNPs.
At baseline, most mothers had a good understanding of child feeding practices but financial constraints and lack of empowerment were barriers preventing them from improving their children’s diets. Mothers appreciated the GMP sessions because of the cooking demonstrations and MNPs distribution. However, they did not always understand the need for monthly growth monitoring. MNPs were well accepted and liked, mothers believed it helps child’s weight gain. According to CHWs, the provision of MNPs motivates mothers to prepare separate foods for their children. Instructions for use of MNPs were not always understood.
Community-based nutrition services with provision of MNPs are well accepted and have the potential to improve child nutrition in rural Burkina Faso, but financial compensation and empowerment of women are required to maximize effects.