The Christian Association of Nigeria and the Jama’atu Nasril Islam have pledged their support and influence to the Accelerating Nutrition Results project in Nigeria.

While acknowledging the importance of proper nutrition for the family and the nation, the religious organizations said their support was needed to achieve ANriN’s goals of social and behavioral change around nutrition for mothers, infants and young children.

The ANRiN project is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Health with support from the World Bank, with the aim of increasing the availability and use of high-quality, cost-effective nutritional services for pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls and children under five years of age in 12 states with a high malnutrition burden of Nigeria.

CAN President Daniel Okoh and JNI Secretary General Dr. Khalid Aliyu, pledged their support in various forums during their meeting with the ANRiN project management team, which consisted of the World Bank, the FMoH and the Center for Communication and Social Impact.

Okoh spoke as host of the ANRiN project management team at an advocacy meeting at CAN Secretariat, Abuja.

“That nutrition is needed in local grassroots communities and any intervention that meets grassroots needs is a welcome initiative,” he said.

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While reassuring CAN’s support, the cleric said a team would be formed to work with the ANRiN team.

He expressed the hope that CAN would support the project after it had exceeded its lifespan.

The CAN President stated that after being involved in the Roll Back Malaria project, which was a success while he was Vice President, he believed that the ANRiN project, which came about during his tenure, would also be a great would be a success. He promised to continuously educate religious leaders to record and disseminate health and nutrition messages.

Okoh especially appreciated the fact that the project had developed a sermon guide that would help faith leaders preach and speak in support of the nutrition of mothers, infants, and young children.

According to him, his team would not stop at the pulpit preaching, but would monitor the implementation within the community so that lives would be affected.

Aliyu said, “You are on the right track by working with faith leaders because we have the coverage and influence, we have several forums that we use to reach our people.”

He praised the team’s efforts in developing the social and behavioral change materials and assured that the JNI would review the documents and validate the Bible verses where necessary.

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Aliyu assured the ANRiN project management team that JNI would use its network to ensure that the social and behavior change materials were properly deployed and used by faith leaders in the executive states once they were validated and approved by the top agencies.

The national project manager of the ANRiN project, Dr. Ojuolape Solanke, while speaking about the project, had stated that the ANRiN project was a World Bank-funded project with the strategic objective of promoting the use of high-quality, cost-effective nutritional services for pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls and children under the age of five. years in Nigeria.

She said the project was twofold with a community-level service component targeting pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children under five and newborns, and a mass communications component targeting mass media and faith leaders.

Solanke said the project has been in existence since 2019 and provides interventions in 12 states of the federation with the highest burden of malnutrition in Nigeria. She believed that this would be done through interpersonal communication through faith leaders, which led to the meetings of the faith leaders.

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She also stated that another channel is the National Mass Media Campaign.

Solanke stated that the ANRiN project is a bold initiative to prevent malnutrition within the first 1000 days of life “and rewrite the stories of our investment in human capital development.”

About working with faith leaders, she said: “We have had interesting results, very productive with JNI and CAN; the faith leaders and it has been productive. They are good contributors to our project and we will work with them on this aspect to improve the many vulnerable mothers and children within the feeding space and the delivery of a basic package of nutritional services that we deliver to the community and the mass media campaign through the faith leaders. ”

The technical team leader of the World Bank’s ANRiN project, Dr. Ritgak Tilley-Gyado, noted that the project needed the guidance of the faith leaders to move forward, especially with regard to the campaign materials to be deployed in the states.

She felt that the experience of faith leaders in reaching the congregations would apply to the project, as it would help in using appropriate messages and channels to reach the target audience.

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