Women as agents of change for improved maternal infant and young children nutrition (MIYCN): evidence from the Rwanda campaign – A 1000 days in the land of a 1000 hills

Abstract Number Theme Presentation Type Cover Approved
0332 Communication and advocacy for micronutrient policies and programs Poster Approved


Abstract Content


To use a multi-sectoral approach to improve the nutritional status of vulnerable populations (children under 5, pregnant and lactating women) in order to reduce stunting and micronutrient deficiencies.To empower women as agents of change and encourage men’s involvement to support women for improved MIYCN.


Following advocacy by UN and development partners, the government launched a communication campaign involving various social cluster ministries to reduce undernutrition. Sensitization focused on the importance of the first ‘1000 days of life’ creating a supportive environment through media, school, food associations, and opinion leaders. The national plan was integrated into the District Plans to Eliminate Malnutrition.Key messages and materials were developed from formative research to build women’ knowledge and skills on how to prevent undernutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies. Community based activities included community dialogues, role modeling, songs, interpersonal communication through Health Workers and religious leaders, cooking demonstrations, and growth monitoring.


Results have shown the effectiveness of the package of interventions on sustaining women’s knowledge of improved MIYCN practices. National and local surveys consistently show improved practices and reduced undernutrition including stunting and micronutrient deficiencies in young children. A universally high acceptability of Micronutrient Powders has been shown as a result of women’s knowledge of nutrition needs in the first 1000 days of life.


Using culturally appropriate messages embedded in community based activities, women acquired and sustained key knowledge of critical MIYCN practices. Women acting as agents of change were also effectively supported by changes in men’s attitudes and behaviours to support women.

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