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Ellis-Hadwin Health Legacy in Kenya

The Ellis-Hadwin Legacy in Kenya 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.

Investing in the future: Integrated Adolescent Nutrition project

Adolescence (10 to 19 years of age) is a pivotal period and a unique intervention point, where there is a chance to break the inter-generational cycle of malnutrition.

Addressing the nutritional needs of adolescents is one of the key steps towards target two of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which aims to:

  • End all forms of malnutrition;
  • Address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and older persons.

In Kenya, adolescents constitute 22% of the population. KDHS 2014 reported that 15% of girls aged between 15 to 19 have already had one pregnancy and 3% are pregnant at any one time.

The survey showed Narok County, as having the highest rate of teenage child bearing at 40% compared to the national average of 18%. Early marriage and FGM are also customary in this region.

The Ellis-Hadwin Health Legacy focuses on strengthening our integrated health programming approaches, building on our existing work, in line with our Community Health best practices.

In Kenya the Health Legacy is supporting integration of adolescent nutrition with sexual and reproductive health in Narok county.

The project aims to reduce teenage pregnancies and improve the nutrition outcomes for adolescent girls, adolescent mothers and their babies.

This is also in line with the Lancet Series 2013 evidence based recommendation to address low birth weight in babies through reducing early marriage and early pregnancy amongst adolescent girls.

This not only reduces the risks associated with premature childbearing but also empowers girls to further their education. The project is working across the education and health sectors while exploring a private sector partnership with Unilever.

About the adolescent nutrition project

The aim of the adolescent nutrition project is to improve nutrition outcomes for adolescent girls and their children.

Christian Aid are working with communities to empower adolescent girls and their households to improve their nutrition status through behaviour change on feeding and dietary practices, tackling gender and social norms associated with early marriage and early pregnancy and improving access to adolescent friendly health services.

In addition, we are conducting a formative research to collect data on adolescent nutrition thus contributing to the body of knowledge in this necessary but largely ignored area.

Specific objectives of this programme are:

  • To improve the nutrition status of adolescent girls, adolescent mothers and their children under 23 months (focus on the first 1000 days of life);
  • To improve nutrition practise (dietary practices and supplementation) among adolescent girls and their households;
  • To reduce the number of teenage pregnancies;
  • Increase county health capacity on adolescent nutrition programming.

Find out more about our work in Kenya