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Project in Rwanda

Engaging men in supporting maternal and child consumption of milk and other animal source foods in Rwanda

Timeline: February 2020 - December 2021

Funding: USAID

Affiliated project: Enhancing Milk Quality and Consumption for Improved Income and Nutrition in Rwanda

Principal investigator (PI) and lead institution

  • Emily Ouma, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

Co-PI and collaborator institutions


Colverson, K.E. 2021. Engaging men in supporting maternal and child consumption of milk and other animal source foods in Rwanda. A facilitator’s guide. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI

Flax, V.L., Ouma, E.A., Schreiner, M-A., Ufitinema, A., Niyonzima, E., Colverson K.E., and Galiè, A. 2023. Engaging fathers to support child nutrition increases frequency of children’s animal source food consumption in Rwanda. PLoS ONE 18(4): e0283813.

Video: Gabura Amata Mubyeyi: Engaging men in supporting maternal and child consumption of milk in Rwanda

For more results and resources, visit the companion project page.

Project Plan

Maternal and child nutrition practices, including consumption of milk and animal source foods, are considered the responsibility of women in many low- and middle-income countries. However, men can influence nutrition in their households through their decision-making, control of resources, and social support. Despite the role of gender and the importance of men in influencing nutrition in their households, most nutrition programs target women, and men are not comfortable participating. There is very little evidence on feasible, effective, and acceptable ways to involve men in maternal and child nutrition.

The main objective of this research project is to develop, implement, and evaluate an intervention to engage men in maternal and child nutrition—especially milk and animal-source food consumption.


Specifically, this study will

1) Assess men’s and women’s perceptions of their own and each other’s roles in nutrition, especially animal-source food production, consumption and purchasing, and the gender dynamics affecting these roles

2) Assess men’s preferences on engagement in maternal and child nutrition, and women’s preferences on how they want men to be engaged, and identify potential barriers and enablers to their engagement

3) Design and implement a nutrition intervention for men, which facilitates their engagement in and support for nutrition, including consumption of milk produced in the household and other optimal maternal and child nutrition practices promoted in our project on animal-source food interventions

4) Document the implementation process and evaluate the intervention, including measurement of how men and women perceive the information and skills acquired and how they utilize the information to improve household nutrition, and decision making around nutrition.

This study will contribute to the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab's food production and marketing Area of Inquiry and its goal of linking gender, nutrition, and livestock value chains.

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is part of Feed the Future

This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Resilience, Environment and Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation OPP#060115.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.