Principal investigator (PI) and lead institution
Dr. Sarah McKune, University of Florida
Co-PI and collaborator institutions
Burkina Faso is burdened by high rates of malnutrition and stunting in children under 5 years old. Undernutrition can have significant long term physical, cognitive, and socioeconomic impacts on a child’s development, as well as on the future economic success of the country. Animal source food (ASF) consumption can improve growth, nutritional status, cognitive development, and health in children. In Burkina Faso, ASF consumption is low, particularly among women and children. Livestock is typically produced for income, gifting, and socio-religious practices, rather than for direct household consumption. Barriers, such as cultural beliefs and stigmas, prevent the consumption of chicken eggs in Burkina Faso and many other parts of Africa.
This study aims to address the challenges to ASF consumption and improve smallholder farm poultry practices in rural Burkina Faso. As an innovative intervention intended to increase egg consumption, chickens will be given by religious leaders as gifts to children between 6 and 12 months of age. Each child’s caregiver will commit to feeding their child one egg a day from the gifted chickens. Children are often the least likely to consume ASF, despite their unique needs. Because food allocation inequities often exist, this study design proposes that the child be the true owner of the chickens as well as the beneficiary and recipient of the eggs for consumption.
This study will properly test a pilot study conducted in Ethiopia that increased the portion of children consuming 3 or more eggs a week from 5% to 70% through the gifting of chickens by religious leaders to children. It involves behavioral change methods that empower caregivers as poultry producers by improving their access to livestock production resources, providing tools for improved decision making, and enhancing knowledge of nutrition. This study targets vulnerable populations of smallholder farms and women and children, and it intends to improve poultry production, egg consumption of children, nutrition, and household level resilience.
Photo credit: ILRI
Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems
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