Feed The Future Zambia Mawa

The Challenge

Improve the nutritional status of children under two by linking nutrition-sensitive economic and food-security activities with nutrition-specific interventions.

Overview and Objectives

Formally launched on June 5, 2013, the Feed the Future Zambia Mawa (Mawa) project aimed to improve food and economic security for 21,500 households in Chipata and Lundazi districts in Zambia’s Eastern Province. The USAID-funded, five year project worked toward this goal by providing a package of services to increase and diversify agricultural production for nutrition and markets, improve household health and nutritional status, and increase incomes and productive assets. Mawa ensures gender-sensitive programming through its household approach, which is based on regular and inclusive dialogues to appreciate how gender norms, roles and beliefs influence household decisions and gains related to agriculture, nutrition and incomes.

The Mawa nutrition strategy focuses on households with pregnant or lactating women and children under two, the most critical period for a child’s healthy growth and development, to reduce stunting among children under two. The project relies on community-based volunteers to reach targeted households with health and nutrition messages and employ behavior change negotiation strategies to encourage trying new practices and provide the support required to maintain those new practices for lasting change.

Under the project, URC is a technical assistance partner that leads innovation in linking agriculture and nutrition through dedicated short-term technical assistance. The project was part of Feed the Future, the US government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative.

Key activities included:

  • Conducting barrier analyses on improved crop production, post-harvest practices, and new crop adoption;
  • Developing and adapting current behavior change training models, materials, and learning aids for use by Mawa nutrition volunteers;
  • Providing technical assistance for improved integration of agriculture and nutrition communication strategies to promote highly nutritious foods and reduce aflatoxin exposure;
  • Conducting Positive Deviance Inquiries (PDI) and adapting local recipes for Community Complementary Feeding and Learning Sessions (CCFLS) to maximize nutritional value of meals, including micronutrients and protein; and
  • Supporting the design of implementation research activities related to nutrition program implementation and outcomes.




Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Nutrition, Social and Behavior Change

President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), USAID

Caritas Chipata, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART), Women for Change