Suaahara Nepal Nutrition Project
To support the Suaahara project team and address the communication needs of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (JHUCCP) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This person will support the project's ultimate goal of increasing knowledge, awareness and acceptance of, improve attitudes towards, and motivate healthier behaviors in nutrition and hygiene within each targeted audience of the 41 Suaahara districts, bringing about social and community change and the sustainable adoption of nutrition practices that improve maternal nutrition and the nutrition of children under 2.
The intern will support the JHUCCP team to capture, assess, synthesize, disseminate, apply and evaluate priority health and communication approaches, materials and tools for community engagement. The intern will support the CCP team in providing day-to-day technical assistance for behavior change communication, public-private partnership development, monitoring and evaluation activities and administrative needs.
Global Health Mentor: Caroline Jacoby, Senior Program Officer, JHCCP
I traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal for four months to work with Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) for the Suaahara Project. Funded by USAID and principally led by Save the Children, Suaahara is a five-year long integrated nutrition project to address maternal and child under nutrition during the 1,000 golden days – the point of conception to the day the child turns two years old. I worked with the Social and Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC) team to execute the Project’s health communication campaign to encourage nutrition-related behavior change at the community and household level. Under nutrition is a major health concern in Nepal as many children as stunted.
There were numerous NGOs involved in the Suaahara project. Therefore, this opportunity not only helped me understand CCP, but also Save the Children, Jhpiego, Helen Keller International, local NGOs, and how they all collaborate on the group to successful implement projects. I was initially surprised by the large network of offices that exist within country from regional to district office.
Aside from class lectures, this practicum was the first time I had hands-on experience in social and behavior change communication. This opportunity reaffirmed my interest in this behavior change and helped me understand how different communication channels trigger behavior change. Since returning to Hopkins, I have been taking more classes on health communication to sharpen my skills. Since the project is very involved in a mass media campaign, I was very surprised by the level of bureaucracy to get government approval on each health message that is shared with the public.
Since Nepal is my home country, I had a very different experience than many of my classmates. I did not go through culture shock or need time to adapt to a new environment. Language barrier was not a concern. However, it was my first time traveling throughout to rural areas and being exposed to a great deal of diversity within the country. Having the opportunity to see different cultures and different local languages in one small country was very gratifying. When I was spending time in the field with rural family members, I learned that that was the time I valued the most.
I am very thankful for the experience because now I know that I would like to return to Nepal one day to address maternal and child health concerns using health communication.
10-month old child in Pipaldanda, Sindhupalchok, Nepal. His family lost their home to the April 2015 earthquake and currently live in a tent: