Ellis-Hadwin Health Legacy in Burundi
The Ellis-Hadwin Legacy in Burundi will focus on improving poor women and men’s access to essential health care. The programme is being delivered across three strands of work including testing and adapting, integrating health programming, and evidence and learning.
Testing and adapting
In Burundi, we are implementing the Integrated Community Action for Nutrition (ICAN), a project in Nyanza-Lac and Rumonge health districts, that aims at reducing under nutrition for children and women of reproductive age.
The project has a specific focus on pregnant and lactating women and children below two years of age using the 1000 days approach.
The 1000 days between a woman's pregnancy and her child's second birthday offer a unique window of opportunity to build a child's ability to grow, learn and thrive.
Burundi has one of the worst nutrition indicators, with 56% of children under five years of age stunted and 29% of underweight.
The project seeks to achieve the following three main outcomes:
- Women of child bearing age have appropriate behaviours necessary to improve their nutrition status and that of their children;
- Women have economic capacity/resources and agency necessary to make decisions related to nutrition;
- Health services related to nutrition are quality, responsive and accessible by women of childbearing age and the community.
Integrating health programming
In Burundi, we are integrating community health into our existing Inclusive Markets Development work, with a strong focus on gender and inclusion.
The project is using the VSLA groups for women coffee farmers as an entry point to integrating nutrition, water and hygiene among other health issues.
This will ensure that the coffee farmer communities’ multiple goals of increased income, improved health and livelihoods are addressed.
Evidence and learning
We have identified and developed a plan to carry out research and generate learning in the following areas over the next three years:
- Women’s economic empowerment and health
- The extent to which the community health framework is relevant in fragile and resource constrained contexts
- Health and resilience
Find out more about our work in Burundi
Mariam is a busy mother of 7 who lives in a region of Burundi where malnutrition rates are very high. When she became part of the Ellis-Hadwin health legacy (HL) project through partner Great Lakes INKINGI Development (GLID) she was told that two of her children were malnourished. This is a harsh truth to be heard by a mother but Mariam was motivated to turn things around.
GLID are working with women in communities, like Mariam’s, to improve their sources of income, increase their involvement in decision making and improve the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable people, including children under 5.
Women are invited to learn how to grow vegetables and educated on the nutritional benefits of including these in their diets, especially for those suffering from malnourishment. This equips the women not only with the knowledge but also the resources needed to feed their families healthy foods.
Mariam didn’t know that their diet of mainly cassava was not enough to give their bodies everything they needed, especial her growing children. After learning how to grow vegetables in her garden and introducing them at every meal she saw the malnourishment of her children reduce until they were no longer showing any signs.
Women in the communities are also introduced to savings and loans groups which are self-governed within the community. By having access to credit, women can invest in their economic activities. Training provided within the project on financial management empowers Mariam and others in the groups to make the right decisions on spending and saving their earnings. Mariam has been delighted to be elected as the leader for 10 households in her village within the savings group and aspires to move into more senior responsibilities.