Save the Children
In Myanmar, 27% of children under 5 are stunted, with feeding behavior in the first 1000 days of life being a critical factor. There were key cultural barriers impeding healthy feeding. Beans and leafy greens were seen as being unhealthy. Meat was seen as too expensive for daily consumption, but locally available eggs and beans were not seen as appropriate protein alternatives. Caregivers were passionately dedicated to the health of their babies, but were poorly informed and confused about what information sources to follow. Being unable to properly nourish their babies made them feel ashamed and inadequate, but they were eager to learn and improve their practices.
Save the Children and UNICEF worked with 17 Triggers to design a behavioral intervention to improve complementary feeding at six months. Using a human-centered design approach, 17 Triggers co-created a variety of potential solutions with the mothers and families of Myanmar. Physical tools, information channels and messages were prototyped and tested with users. Fast fails were quickly discarded, and early wins were built on for the next round of iteration.
Discussing portion sizes and diversity with mothers and caretakers.
What eventually won the hearts of Myanmar families was the concept of Superfoods – delightful food characters that demonstrated the benefits of each food type (rice for energy, beans and meat for strength, fruits and vegetables for good health).
Using the Superfood concept, we created the Banana Bag – a complementary feeding kit with a host of tools to nudge caretakers into providing the right portions, textures and diversity of food. The Banana Bag was introduced to mothers at their local health care centre in small interactive group sessions. Training, instructional videos and IVR messages reinforced the key messages.
Midwives play a key role introducing the Banana Bag and its contents to mothers are the health center.
“I can see the difference in my baby. He seems more healthy and shows no signs of illness. He eats more than his brother did at this age.”
Mothers were proud of their newfound competence and eagerly shared their learnings with friends. They felt secure in their ability to feed their baby properly and reported that babies who had experienced the Banana Bag were healthier than their older siblings. After just three months, the Banana Bag had proved that when mothers are properly equipped, they can adopt beneficial feeding behaviors that help them raise happy, healthy and flourishing children.
Fathers are encouraged to play a role in feeding their children.