November 19, 2023 CGIG Webinar: Defining a “Quality Care Group”
The Care Group Model (CGM) serves as a community-based platform for delivering essential health and nutrition programming. Care groups typically include 10-15 community-based volunteers who convene regularly to discuss health and nutrition topics; these individuals are then responsible for supporting household level behavior change in their communities by educating other community members on important health and nutrition practices (TOPS 2016). To-date, this strategy has been implemented in 43 countries, with some countries, including Malawi and Zimbabwe, adopting the model as an official strategy.
As programs and studies generate evidence on quality standards, learning from group participants themselves is critical to ensure high quality design and implementation in local contexts. To contribute to this learning, USAID Advancing Nutrition partnered with Amalima Loko, a USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA)-funded Resilience Food Security Activity (RFSA) in Zimbabwe, and Akule ndi Thanzi, a USAID Malawi bilateral nutrition project in Malawi. The webinar will highlight the process and key findings of research conducted with care groups in Zimbabwe and Malawi. We will also share an overview of the local solutions co-developed with care group participants, which partners can use and adapt with communities.
Resources and materials:
Dr. Kondwani Chidziwisano, MUBAS
Riley Auer, MSPH, USAID Advancing Nutrition
Pamela Ncube Murakwani, Amalima Loko
Learn more about the speakers here
October 20, 2021 CGIG Webinar: Care Groups and Quality Assurance
Quality and program fidelity are important aspects to Care Group implementation and development. Join us for a 90-minute session to learn how Food for the Hungry, World Renew and Curamericas Global have put quality assurance practices into place. Each organization will speak to a different aspect of quality assurance: generating local buy-in, ongoing monitoring, and periodic process evaluations. A significant portion of the program will be open for Q&A as well sharing your own experiences, tips and tools.
Speakers include Karen Calani, Senior Technical Advisor for Health and Nutrition at Food for the Hungry, Sadoc Aguilar, Country Director for Guatemala at World Renew, and Barbara Muffoletto, Program Manager at Curamericas Global.
May 19, 2021 CGIG Webinar: Care Groups and Realist Research
How do Care Groups achieve behavior change outcomes? Using realist research, a theory-based approach, Dr Pieternella Pieterse and Professors Anne Matthews and Ellen Chirwa conducted research evaluating infant feeding policy implementation in Malawi. Their ‘realist synthesis’ was complemented with stakeholder interviews, to answer their research questions about Care Groups and behavior change outcomes. Two sets of findings will be highlighted around sources of group motivation, and creating a conducive environment for behavior change adoption. Join us for a webinar that should help us all learn more about this exciting topic! Dr Pietenella Pieterse is part of a team at Dublin City University (Ireland) and Kamuzu College of Nursing (Malawi). She is joined by Professor Anne Matthews and Professor Ellen Chirwa.
Can Care Groups be used to reduce physical violence against children? To encourage parents to reduce stress? To get more involved in their young and school-aged children’s lives? To reduce injuries? Join us to hear some exciting results from a recent evaluation of World Vision’s Nurturing Care Group (NCG) project model in Ghana in terms of improving child protection, reducing violence against children, and improving WASH practices. Unlike many Care Group approach evaluations, this one had a control group which allowed for looking at “difference in differences” to assess the value added in using Care Groups. We will be discussing others’ experiences with using the Care Group approach to change behaviours in sectors other than health, nutrition and WASH. Join us to hear more from Tom Davis, Ben Tidwell, and Cynthia Fosuah from World Vision.
April 30, 2020 CGIG Webinar: Adapting the Care Group Approach as an SBC Delivery Channel in Farmer Groups
Welthungerhilfe (WHH), an INGO dedicated to fighting hunger and poverty, headquartered in Germany, has been implementing agriculture and WASH programs for decades in some of the poorest countries of the world. The organization increased their focus on nutrition during the past few years on nutrition-sensitive interventions. In addition, interventions to promote nutrition-related SBC are being emphasized to reap (and eat…) the fruits of the nutrition-sensitive interventions. In 2017/18 and as part of a project in the West Nile region, Welthungerhilfe in Uganda took the care group approach and adapted and applied it to on-going work with farmer field schools (FFS), an approach used by the organization to promote and improve agricultural skills and production. Since then, other projects by Welthungerhilfe have started similar interventions using the ‘nutrition in FFS’ curriculum. Gudrun Stallkamp and Navya Nadimpalli will share the process and their experience of how (and what) was married together in two existing (care Groups, farmer field schools) implementation approaches to promote nutrition-related behaviors.
In 2018, the Nurturing Care Framework was released by UNICEF, the World Bank, WHO, ECDAN and the PMNCH. This framework focuses on and promotes integration of interventions in health, nutrition, WaSH, responsive caregiving, early learning, security and safety. There has been a growing body of evidence (in part from the Clean, Fed, and Nurtured movement) showing that integration of multisectoral activities – such as combining nutrition supplementation with early child stimulation – can produce better outcomes for complex outcomes (e.g., stunting) than single sector activities alone. In World Vision, we believe that the CG approach can be used as a platform to promote behaviours in each of these domains, and created a training manual for a highly-integrated version of the approach, the Nurturing Care Groups project model. A Child Protection CG module has been developed that promotes child protection behaviours to end violence against children, and we plan to expand that module and create additional standard modules (in the public domain) for each of our five sectors based on the good work that has already been done by multiple INGOs. WV is testing the project model this year in Ghana, focusing first on Child Protection and WaSH behaviours.
Given the renewed focus on integration promoted in the NC Framework, we believe other organizations may be interested in using the CG approach in this integrated way, and may already be doing so. During this webinar, Tom Davis, Ben Tidwell and Todd Nitkin will present WV’s work to date on this integrated CG model and some of their early lessons learned, and also lead a discussion about what you are learning from use of CGs beyond the Health, Nutrition, and WaSH sectors – in child protection, education, livelihoods, and other cross-cutting domains like gender and MHPS.
July 10, 2019 CGIG Webinar: Providing Technical Support Visits in the Field Part 2
We will focus on the challenges commonly faced by staff around motivation, misconceptions about motivation and incentives, and how we support staff in addressing these challenges. We will also tackle a fairly provocative topic; we will discuss and debate whether and when the roles volunteers typically fill in the Care Group approach, should in some circumstances, be converted to paid positions.
June 20, 2019 CGIG Webinar: Providing Technical Support Visits in the Field Part 1
We will discuss some of the common problems experienced with Care Groups by staff, common misconceptions about the model and several ideas for what to look for during a visit. We also hope to hear from others about their experiences with providing technical support, so come ready to share your ideas! Kicking off our discussion will be 4 experienced care group implementers:
Mary DeCoster, Senior Director of SBC at Food for the Hungry, will facilitate this discussion. Presenters include: Claire Boswell, Senior Technical Advisor for SBC, and Karen Calani, Health & Nutrition Coordinator, at Food for the Hungry; Armelle Sacher, Senior Technical Advisor SBC & GT at Action Against Hunger; and Meredith Stakem, Regional Technical Advisor Health/Nutrition, Central Africa Region at Catholic Relief Services.
November 30, 2018 CGIG Webinar: Training Care Groups on Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Rural Niger
Major gender inequalities exist in Niger; physical violence against women is ubiquitous. Training on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) was integrated into a pre-existing care group programme in rural Niger providing cascading training on infant and young child feeding and maternal and child health to 5,000 women and men. Statistically significant improvements were observed in attitudes towards physical violence, forced sexual intercourse and roles of wives in financial decision-making. Overall, pilot results demonstrate that SGBV messaging can be successfully integrated into Care Group (CG) interventions.
October 24, 2018 CGIG Webinar: Responsive Feeding Messages and Activities in Care Groups
This pilot project tested the feasibility of incorporating messages on infant feeding and behavior cues in order to improve breastfeeding and complementary feeding using the Care Group Model in current nutrition programming in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. As part of the project, Food for the Hungry developed key educational messages, created educational materials using these messages, and trained Food for the Hungry/Guatemala staff on how to use the materials. As a result of the project, Food for the Hungry/Guatemala and the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute are expanding on the Care Group educational materials used to create a three module series focusing on early childhood development, breastfeeding and complementary feeding during the 1000 days.