SPRING/Nigeria Celebrates Achievements in Close Out Event
In November 2016, representatives from the Government of Nigeria, USAID, international NGOs, and civil society organizations gathered for a final meeting to celebrate the achievements and lessons learned through the SPRING project. Active in Nigeria with PEPFAR funding since June 2012, SPRING/Nigeria operated with the goal of reducing maternal and child undernutrition.
Dominic Elue, an Assistant Director from the Federal Ministry of Health, spoke about SPRING’s legacy and contribution evident through scaling up training of the national infant and young child feeding (IYCF) counselling package across 16 states. He urged event participants to sustain the efforts launched by SPRING. Representatives from Action Contre la Faim (ACF) and UNICEF echoed this sentiment, pointing to the tools and training materials rolled out by SPRING in 122 local government areas (LGAs) to more than 2,600 participants, ultimately reaching more than 165,000 caregivers and children during the first 1,000 days.
Pamela Gado, the USAID/Nigeria Activity Manager for the project, called SPRING a “results-driven program” and praised SPRING’s dedication to making the project country-led by working alongside the Government of Nigeria.
Perhaps the best representation of SPRING’s achievements was provided through beneficiary testimonials. IYCF support groups are open to anyone interested within a community, and supporting male involvement is one of SPRING’s best practices. A member of Mercy’s support group, Aliyu Yusef, joined shortly before his wife’s third pregnancy. After each meeting, he would take home what he had learned to his wife, and encouraged her to exclusively breastfeed their new son for six months. After witnessing firsthand how optimal IYCF practices contributed to his son’s health, Aliyu has started sharing his knowledge and experience with other fathers. He even plans to begin a support group of his own focusing mainly on fathers.
Since June 2012, SPRING has trained over 2,600 people on IYCF, resulting in the establishment of over 3,000 IYCF support groups that encourage and counsel community members around optimal feeding and nutrition and hygiene care practices to protect and promote the health, development, and wellbeing of children within the critical 1,000 days. Through our work with local partners, we have reached over 165,000 caregivers and children under two across 16 states and 122 local government areas (LGAs).