Fathers are listening to the audio content on 1,000 Days of Motherhood! Reports coming in from the field from Zambia’s National Food and Nutrition Council (NFNC) that the First 1000 Days content is proving so popular that fathers are also joining in.
Zambia has one of the highest rates of childhood stunting in the world, due to under-nutrition, and the 1,000 Days program plays a vital role in educating pregnant and new mothers on how to keep themselves and their babies healthy. It's great to hear that fathers are interested in learning about nutrition for their children too!
The 1,000 Days of Motherhood project wouldn't be possible without our solar Lifeplayers. In the last three months, the NFCF has distributed more Lifeplayers in nine districts, which has made possible a number of new women’s listening groups. As we write this report, training is ongoing in each of the districts.
The Ministry has developed two new sets of radio series of 13 weeks each, and they are planning to start working on the next set of content, using feedback from the listening groups. They have also designed a short listening guide and feedback form for the districts. The main focus of the new programs will be nutrition, in particular the importance of good nutrition for pregnant mothers and young children.
The Ministry reports that the Lifeplayers have generated much interest, and they are receiving many requests for more products. We hope to send many more Lifeplayers to Zambia in the near future.
Our Lifeplayers are being used in Zambia's urban areas too!
By Kristine Pearson | Chief Executive
Zambian women have a rich and long tradition of women’s listening groups. After World War II, the BBC broadcast programmes of interest to women across Southern Africa, and these were especially popular in Zambia.
Today Zambian women are still keen listeners of radio programmes. However, barriers like the high levels of poverty in many rural areas coupled with the cost of batteries makes listening unaffordable to the poorest. In addition, electricity is non-existent in many places. Even in urban townships, if a family is hooked up to the grid, they may not be able to pay for electricity or a radio set.
Although rural areas are the primary destination for our Lifeplayers, which are loaded with the National Food and Nutrition Commission’s First 1,000 Days content, we have found many urban women who are just as keen to listen. To our surprise, not only did their children share the same issues of stunting as in rural areas, but mothers in urban areas are more likely to be faced with two temptations not as common in rural settings – tobacco and alcohol. Both cigarettes and alcohol, mainly beer, are readily available and cheap in townships; and both are highly detrimental to a women who is pregnant or nursing. Further, we found that urban women too had little information on nutrition and other aspects of the importance of the first 1,000 days from conception. We also met quite a few teenage mothers who had dropped out of school to have a baby and did not return to finish their education.
This listening group in an under-served Lusaka township comprises grannies looking after as many as eight children, and young mothers. Most of the women are looking after orphans and other vulnerable children without any government support. They told Lifeline that because the nutrition programmes were in Njanja, everyone in the group could understand them, even though it might not be their first or home language. Njanja is the most commonly spoken language in Zambia.
Eunice, the listening group leader said that they were very happy with the Lifeplayer, especially because they could meet to listen when it suited them and that they could record other radio programmes as well. “We have hard lives and have little time to learn anything new. We are happy to find new knowledge about maternal health and nutrition. Our group is mixed with young and old and we can all help each other. If we don’t help each other out, then who will? Most of us don’t have husbands and if we do, they don’t give us very much money.”
Zambia has one of the highest rates of childhood stunting in the world, due to under-nutrition, and so the education of mothers in the first 1,000 days from conception is absolutely vital. The messages that these listening groups hear focus on maternal nutrition and diet, taking iron tablets and folic acid during pregnancy, breastfeeding, using mosquito nets effectively and attending pre- and post-natal clinics, as well as encouraging healthy lifestyles.
Many more Lifeplayers are needed - and we sincerely hope that you will continue to support this initiative.
By Deborah Torrington | Communications Co-ordinator
Listening group leaders in Mumbwa
Lifeline Energy's CEO, Kristine Pearson, recently spent time in Zambia conducting Lifeplayer training sessions for our "1000 Days of Motherhood" project. "After all these years, I still enjoy training. There is nothing that I enjoy more workwise that to spend time with African women. I've learned so much from them. They teach me more than I teach them!”
One of the listening group leaders, Catherine, had this to say about the Lifeplayer: “This is a wonderful device. It carries so much information that we can learn and also teach others.” Catherine was one of the first women in the Western Province to receive a Lifeplayer funded through the generosity of GlobalGiving.
Instead of telling the women to form groups and listen to the nutritional programmes we thought would benefit them, the local ministry of health in conjunction with the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC) asked rural community leaders if they wanted to be part of the project. The response was a resounding ‘yes’. Forty women leaders met at the district health office to discuss the nutritional programmes and to be trained on the Lifeplayer. Their enthusiasm was palpable.
On average, each group is between 15-20 mothers and they decide on a name and when and where to meet. One group calls itself the Blessing Group, another Twikatani or Working Together, and another Chikonki, meaning love in Bemba.
Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.