In an ongoing Social Behavior Change (SBC) campaign on Nutrition, Religious leaders in the country are set to support programs that will encourage the improvement of Maternal and Infant Young Child Nutrition indices in the country.
Islamic and Christian Faith leaders made this commitment during an advocacy visit by the Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) team made up of the World Bank, FMoH & National Project Manager ANRiN PMU, Jama’atu Nasir Islam (JNI); Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and the implementing partner, Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI).
“I am very happy about this project, and I promise you that by the special grace of Allah, we will collaborate with you fully because all you have said here are part of the Islamic teachings for the mother.”
The visits, which cut across leaderships of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, the Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN), and the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), aimed at securing the buy-in of faith leaders in encouraging adequate nutrition and its benefits to the faith communities.
ANRiN project also looked to these faith leaders to become advocates for improved Maternal and Infant Young Child Nutrition.
The Accelerated Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) Project is a Federal Government of Nigeria initiative with support from the World Bank, seeking to increase the availability and utilization of quality, cost‐effective nutrition services for pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls, and children under five years of age in 12 high malnutrition burden states of Nigeria.
The Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI) is a non‐state actor in the project with the mandate to implement an innovative Social and Behavior Change (SBC) communication campaign. The leadership of the religious organisations promised their support and urged the ANRiN project to ensure inputs from the faith communities are incorporated into the design and development of campaign materials and the overall campaign.
Speaking on nutrition, the national Ameerah of FOMWAN Hajia Rafiah Sanni expressed her happiness about the project, saying it aligns with Islamic teachings for mothers. Sanni: “I am very happy about this project, and I promise you that by the special grace of Allah, we will collaborate with you fully because all you have said here are part of the Islamic teachings for the mother.”
Also, the Health Secretary of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Dr. Emmanuel Okechukwu who represented the Chairman of the Health Committee, Most Rev. Paulinus Chukwuemeka Ezeokafor, Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese said the Catholic Church would provide needed support to the project, adding, “The Church’s door is open, and our committee will participate in all activities that would help reduce the high burden of malnutrition in the country.”
Meanwhile, the national chairperson of the Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN), Deaconess Victoria Bola Ihesiulor said, “this advocacy is good as we are at the grassroots. Dealing with us is as good as dealing with the whole country as WOWICAN cuts across all the states of the federation.”
The Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI) is a leading Social and Behaviour Change (SBC) organization with expertise in utilising evidence from research to implement effective strategies that address barriers preventing designated audiences from adopting recommended behaviors. Birthed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (JHCCP), Baltimore, USA, and registered in 2001 as a Non-Governmental Organization with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria, CCSI continues to work towards being the center of excellence in strategic communications in Africa. Driven by values of integrity, passion, care, innovation, and excellence, CCSI focuses on the central role of strategic communication to impact behaviors, build brands, and provide technical leadership in health and social development.