Identifying interventions to help rural Kenyan mothers cope with food insecurity: results of a focused ethnographic study

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An ethnographic study was conducted in two areas in southern and western Kenya to identify potential interventions to improve the quality, availability and affordability of foods consumed by infants and young children. A cultural–ecological model of determinants of nutrition identified the sectors of information for data collection related to infant and young child (IYC) diet and feeding-related behaviours, and the focused ethnographic study manual was used to guide the research. The results provide qualitative evidence about facilitators and constraints to IYC nutrition in the two geographical areas and document their inter-connections. We conclude with suggestions to consider 13 potential nutrition-sensitive interventions. The studies provide empirical ethnographic support for arguments concerning the importance of combining nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions through a multi-sectoral, integrated approach to improve the nutrition of infants and young children in low-income, resource-constrained populations. They also document the value of ethnography as a component of landscape analysis in nutrition programme and policy planning.

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