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Reducing child mortality in rural Kenya through breastfeeding education

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Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months can cut infant mortality by 1 million. More support and education for mothers in high risk areas can make a live-saving difference. This project supports mothers & health volunteers in rural Kenya

L. Temminghoff from DocImpactWrite a message

The Challenge
According to UNICEF, exclusive breast-feeding for the first 6 months of a child's life can cut infant mortality by 1 million. More support and education for mothers in high risk areas can make a live-saving difference. Often baby feed is mixed with unclean water causing diarrhea and disease. Unawareness on an individual and community level leads to a fatal lack of support for mothers. This project in rural Kenya not only supports health-workers but raises awareness in the whole community.

What have we achieved so far?
In collaboration with local NGO Karibuni Kenya, seven screenings of the award-winning documentary film MILK and workshops were held at different regional health facilities in Bungoma County, Western Kenya. Using a laptop and projector, the film was shown and followed by a facilitated workshop reaching a total audience of 454 mothers, community influencers including 40 Community Health Volunteers (CHVs). Through their community work each CHV is responsible for ten mothers, amplifying the reach of the film by an additional 400 women. At the workshops, the practical demonstrations resulted in some mothers being able to breastfeed their infant for the first time. All mothers present at the screening indicated they would like to continue to meet in smaller groups and learn more about breastfeeding, maternal and infant health.

Next BIG steps
Feedback from the screening prompted us to create Breastfeeding Information Groups (BIGs) made up of pregnant women and mothers from Bungoma County. The groups will be facilitated by CHVs where they will receive further reproductive health education, one on one breastfeeding counselling and also use the platform to begin a mutual investment initiative, called table banking. The BIGs will not only ensure breastfeeding practices become culturally integrated, but provide an opportunity for the mother’s empowerment and self-determination economically.

With your support we can ensure that mothers are educated and supported to give their infants the best start in life. Your donation will also help us build the capacity of community health volunteers to strengthen their ability to reach and care for community members who have difficulty accessing local health facilities.

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