Empowering Children for a Healthy Future: Improved Feeding Practices for the First 1000 Days Project (IFP)

The Improved Feeding Practices for the First 1000 Days Project (IFP) has been a remarkable initiative that has made significant strides in addressing malnutrition in selected districts in Ghana. The project, funded by the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) via the World Bank had immense contributions from the Ajinomoto Foundation and World Vision and was undertaken in three districts: Kassena Nankana West District (Upper West), Sekyere East (Ashanti Region), and Kintampo South (Bono East).

It ran from July 2020 to August 2023, targeting 4,800 households in 70 communities, and sought to improve dietary habits among women of reproductive age and the nutrient intake of children under two years.

A key component of IFP was using KOKO Plus, a protein and micronutrient supplement designed to improve nutrition in children aged 6 – 24 months and suitable to add to any complementary food. Over 13,000 children aged 6 – 24 months benefited from improved meal quality through the distribution of KOKO Plus. The Ajinomoto Foundation distributed 200,000 sachets of KOKO Plus to the beneficiaries and recorded a 96 % utilization rate. Other beneficiaries included 70 community-based health volunteers trained to deliver nutrition counseling using appropriate complementary feeding campaigns and social behavior change communication (SBCC) approaches. Additionally, over 104,000 women of reproductive age and men profited from these nutrition counseling sessions.

One of such beneficiaries, Madam Akangurege Amenga-etigo in the Zampengo community, indicated how her daughter of 18 months with suspected Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), had a remarkable improvement in her overall health and body weight after the introduction of KOKO Plus in addition to a varied diet.

The IFP project is an example of how concerted efforts and sustainable approaches like these can positively impact the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. It shows how a simple intervention with KOKO Plus can transform the lives of children in Ghana, giving them a chance to grow up healthy and strong.

As we look towards a future where every child reaches their full physical and cognitive potential, initiatives like the IFP project serve as a beacon of hope.