In western Kenya, PATH researchers from US and Kenya organised eight father and ten grandmother self-help groups to promote and support recommended maternal diet and infant/child feeding practices. After four months, they interviewed 17 of the peer facilitators to ask them what they were getting out of this work.
The facilitators responded with these benefits:
- Increased knowledge of feeding issues
- Improved family communication with wives / daughters-in-law
- Increased respect and appreciation from their families
- Group members’ positive changes in behaviour
- Increased recognition within their communities
The research also identified several organization-level factors that contributed to peer educator motivation, including clearly articulated responsibilities for peer educators; strong and consistent supportive supervision; opportunities for social support among peer educators; and working within the existing health system structure.
This research illustrates the asset that exists within families and communities that can be engaged in the promotion of maternal and infant health.
Additional information about the intervention, training materials, and project reports are available from www.iycn.org.
Martina SL, Muhomah T, Thuita F, Bingham A & Mukuria AG (2015), What motivates maternal and child nutrition peer educators? Experiences of fathers and grandmothers in western Kenya, Social Science & Medicine 143
Photo: thisisexcellent. Creative Commons.