More than 110,000 people have been reached with lifechanging nutrition support by humanitarian aid agency, GOAL, through its innovative Nutrition and Positive Practice (NIPP) programme rolled out in five of its countries of operation.
Data gathered by GOAL reveals a 94% cure rate for children on the NIPP programme aged between six months and five years who were suffering from moderate acute malnutrition (MAM).
Designed by GOAL in 2012, NIPP has been pioneered with great success across Sudan, South Sudan, Niger, Malawi and Zimbabwe, offering a community-centred approach designed to tackle the underlying behavioural causes of malnutrition.
NIPP Programmes typically include community or group gatherings, referred to as ‘NIPP Circles’, with discussions and practical activities on tackling malnutrition.
Male and female NIPP Circles meet separately on a regular basis for up to 12 weeks, receiving interactive behaviour change support on a range of topics such as hygiene, sanitation, diversifying diets and appropriate feeding practices for high-risk groups. The groups also engage on practical activities such as building latrines, hand washing stations, and establishing micro-gardens with sessions on food processing, preservation storage and cooking demonstrations.
In Niger, where more than one in two children between 7 and 12 years of age drop out of school, and where nearly 20 percent of the population cannot meet their basic food needs, GOAL has introduced the NIPP approach in primary schools in the Mirriah district, in the south of Niger, with support from Irish Aid. For many parents, the prospect of a free nutritious meal is a strong incentive to send their children to school. The GOAL programme targets four primary schools, reaching over 500 students, with the aim to help vulnerable children become “nutritionally literate” and to adopt good dietary and lifestyle behaviors.
At the start of this 18-month programme, only one out of the four schools had hand-washing facilities. And none of the schools had suitable spaces to grow a wide range of nutritious vegetables, roots and herbs. But following completion of the programme, all four schools had functional hand-washing points and yielding gardens and the programme is mobilising the local community and driving sustainable, community led solutions. As a result, existing ‘NIPP Circles’ already established in the local area helped provide water for the schools’ micro-gardens. Micro-gardens in the schools are yielding kale, salad and tomatoes which has helped transform school meals and has led to a big reduction in absenteeism. Good nutrition, particularly in early childhood, is seen as a building block for improved educational development. Bi-weekly cooking demonstrations are also educating students about the importance of nutrition and encouraging them to practice what they learn at home.
Background to NIPP
When it comes to malnutrition, prevention is preferable to curative interventions. But the reality means that both often need to be implemented in parallel. Indeed, global rates of malnutrition make a compelling case for the implementation of interventions that, as well as improving the nutritional status of those already malnourished, focus more on the preventative aspect i.e., the occurrence of malnutrition in the first instance. The questionable performance of the traditional food aid approach, and the desire to tackle malnutrition at source, are just some of the reasons why GOAL’s nutrition experts have spent the past five years designing and field-testing a new approach to the prevention of malnutrition. GOAL’s NIPP approach offers a viable and sustainable solution for malnutrition management and its prevention, through tackling the underlying causes of malnutrition, in locations where food-based aid is unsuitable and/or untenable.
GOAL is an international humanitarian and development agency and has worked in over 60 countries and responded to almost every major humanitarian disaster. GOAL is currently operational in 13 countries