The Cocoa Nutrition Innovation (CNI) Project is an intervention by the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), which aims to improve the nutritional status of households in cocoa growing communities. The CNI is a behavioural change communications (BCC) strategy aimed at effecting change in the dietary diversity and hand washing practices in households in cocoa growing communities. The CNI in Ghana is being piloted, based on successful implementation of a Kenyan version called Seeds of Prosperity.
The project is based on the premise that even though nutritious foods are often available and accessible in rural farming communities, many families are not aware of the importance of a nutritious diet. In the light of this, a BCC campaign strategy has been developed to improve the nutritional status of cocoa farming families. The BCC focuses on dietary diversity, cooking practices, hand washing and hygiene. Through the campaign, participants are expected to be stimulated to eat diverse diets – by eating at least five out of ten food groups daily and washing their hands five times daily.
The Cocoa Nutrition Innovation project has three components that are being piloted:
• Behavioural change communication nutrition training
• Seed provision, animal rearing inputs and related training activities
• Monitoring and evaluation of the project activities.
Three (3) implementing organisations namely Lindt, Touton and Hershey are providing nine weeks of training in five districts – Ataase, New Edubiase, Assin Fosu, Tepa and Goaso. The training focuses on women of cocoa farming households, since they are mostly responsible for food choices in the household.
Participatory Development Associates (PDA) Ltd is providing monitoring and evaluation consultancy services for the CNI with the objectives of
• Assessing fidelity of the training to training plans;
• Critiquing and offering recommendations for replicability;
• Assessing the impact of the project on nutritional and personal hygiene behaviours.
Apart from the progress evaluation, PDA will also undertake a summative evaluation at the end of the project, and will use the 4-levels of the Kirkpatrick evaluation framework for analysis. Participatory tools like focus group discussions, exit interviews and in-depth interviews will complement the training observations that are underway in all training centres in the five districts. These tools will also be used to measure change in knowledge, attitudes and practices of nutrition and hygiene over the course of the programme.