Understanding eating and feeding practices affecting maternal-child nutrition in ethnic minority groups in southern Lao People’s Democratic Republic

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By Liz Comrie-Thomson, Khampheng Phongluxa, Shelley Walker, Shan Huang, Lisa Willenberg, Julie Tartaggia, and Ben Coghlan


Project description

The Accelerating Healthy Agriculture and Nutrition (AHAN) Project, led by World Vision, is implemented by a consortium of partners including Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (AVSF), Green Community Development Association (GCDA) and the Burnet Institute (BI). The proposed consortium draws on the unique technical and organisational strengths of each partner to implement an integrated, multi-sectoral project in line with the Government of Lao PDR’s (GoL) convergence approach, the National Nutrition Strategy and Plan of Action (NNSAP) (2016-2020), and the European Union’s (EUs) Joint Indicative Programming Document for Lao PDR (2016-2020). Implementation will target the following 12 districts across 3 southern provinces, supporting 10 villages per district:

  • Savannakhet: Phine, Sepone, Thapanthong, Phalanxay, Atsaphone and Xonnabuly;
  • Saravane: Saravane, Ta Oi, Toomlarn and Lao Ngarm;
  • Attapeu: Xaysetha and Samakkhixay.

Specific Objectives

The AHAN Project aims to create supportive conditions for enhanced household (HH) nutrition through the following Specific Objectives:

  • Strengthen multisector coordination and support for nutrition
  • Improve dietary and care practices among women of reproductive age (15-49 years) and children under 5 years
  • Reduce incidence of selected Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related diseases/illnesses linked to undernutrition
  • Improve gender equitable relations at the household level, particularly in decision-making and distribution of workload
  • Improve access to and availability of sufficient and/ or diverse foods year-round

The proposed study contributes to Objective 2 of the AHAN project. To develop effective tools to change suboptimal eating and feeding practices through the AHAN project, a qualitative study will be conducted to explore current eating and feeding practices affecting mothers and young children within key ethnic minority groups. The study is not designed to describe all culturally specific eating and feeding practices across the three AHAN project provinces, but rather to improve understanding of the potential range of eating and feeding practices, and the context in which these practices are perceived by local households and communities to be meaningful and appropriate. Study findings will inform the development of materials and strategies to improve child nutrition in the AHAN project area. Study findings can also inform future strategies to improve child nutrition within ethnic minority populations in other parts of Lao PDR.