Updates from the Field: The Power of Cascade Groups
Written by Sara Chambers
Every year our team compiles a country update for all child sponsors. This update shares what has been happening in the country where their sponsored child lives and gives them a glimpse into the real work that’s happening in the communities where Food for the Hungry (FH) works.
This year, we wanted to dive in a little deeper to one of the most profound programs that FH implements in each community across the world, cascade groups.
FH organizes cascade groups as a way of helping families overcome extreme poverty. FH staff invite volunteer mothers in the community to receive training on important topics. They range from nutrition and hygiene to the importance of education and a peaceful home. Equipped with new knowledge and training materials, each mother shares these lessons with other women. They provide support as they implement these new habits and worldview in their own homes. The volunteer mothers receive regular training. This cycles information, tips, and practical advice back to the community members. Above all, this training empowers families to take ownership of their own growth. It encourages them to care for one another in a deep and profound way. When community members support each other, they make healthy changes, leading to healthy children as a result.
Here are some of the most impressive updates from cascade groups from all over the world!
“Cascade groups are very important in Burundi. With these interventions, we have seen the number of children suffering from diarrhea decreased because messages on health and nutrition are shared widely.” – Evariste Habiyambere, Burundi Country Director
Cascade groups in Burundi are helping entire communities care for their children by:
- Adopting healthy practices like the construction of toilets and hand washing stations to improve hygiene
- Improving farming skills, which has led to better crops and reduced malnutrition as a result
- Encouraging families to keep a clean environment around the home, avoiding breeding mosquitoes and the spread of malaria as a result
- Learning about the importance of immunizations as well as how their children can access them.
Cascade groups have helped approximately 16,405 people in Burundi rise out of poverty.
“Cascade groups are making a huge difference for children in Ethiopia because of the pivotal role they play for a rapid dissemination and adoption of behavior.” –Daniel Gebeyehu, Ethiopia Disaster Risk Reduction Program Director
Cascade groups in Ethiopia are helping entire communities care for their children by:
- Encouraging families to embrace improved health and nutrition behaviors
- Influencing neighbors, encouraging them to adopt healthy changes even if they aren’t participating in the group themselves
Cascade groups have reached approximately 62,927 women in Ethiopia with health, hygiene, and nutrition messages!
“Cascade groups are contributing greatly to a high level of community engagement and ownership of the program activities.” –Patrick Nyeko, Mozambique Country Director
Cascade groups in Mozambique are entire communities care for their children by:
- Adopting significant changes in hygiene and sanitation behaviors, eating habits, and breastfeeding, which is reflected in the improvement of children’s health
- Successfully identifying important signs of illness in their children and taking the appropriate action in seeking treatment
- Working together to help one another accomplish larger projects such as digging latrines. As a result, they are celebrating the successes of their neighbors, therefore helping them to gain confidence and create change in the communities
Cascade groups have reached approximately 14,500 women in Mozambique, helping to reduce poverty by 10 percent over four years!
“Cascade groups are making a huge difference for children in Rwanda because they are a channel through which FH reaches many families. Members tend to adopt technologies and are more motivated by the trainings.” –Alice Kamau, Rwanda Country Director
Cascade groups in Rwanda are helping entire communities care for their children by:
- Adopting proper nutrition using the local food available in the community, therefore reducing cases of malnutrition among children
- Improving hygiene practices, which have contributed to children’s health and well-being
- Improving livelihoods practices such as farming and raising animals. Therefore equipping them with the skills to increase their income through agriculture.
- Increasing parents’ involvement in monitoring school attendance and performance for their children
Cascade groups have reached approximately 19,018 families in Rwanda and helped to reduce poverty by almost 20 percent over seven years!
“Cascade groups are making a huge difference for children in Bangladesh because they are providing awareness on various health topics. This kind of awareness and practices help to grow healthy children.” –Mizanur Rahman, Program Director
Cascade groups in Bangladesh are helping entire communities care for their children by:
- Increasing household dietary diversity and teaching families how to access a variety of foods, resulting in a better quality diet
- Increasing awareness of the health benefits of immunizations and deworming medicine. As a result, children’s health has greatly improved.
- Installing handwashing facilities for proper sanitation
- Learning about government services that benefit children and how to access them
329 cascade groups in Bangladesh have reached approximately 19,613 households and were taught through 2,518 volunteers.
Learn more about child sponsorship and contributing to programs that make a difference in the lives of the vulnerable.