Efforts are underway to improve nutrition outcomes in Nigeria, including efforts by the Federal Ministry of Health and many Nigerian nongovernmental organizations. Although global trends show a gradual decline in stunting worldwide, Nigeria’s rate of stunting for children under five years old has only marginally declined, from 42 percent in 2003 to 37 percent in 2013 (Nigeria DHS). Suboptimal infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices are major contributors to the high prevalence of stunting, with only 17 percent of children under six months exclusively breastfed as recommended by the World Health Organization (NDHS 2013). USAID supported the efforts of the Government of Nigeria through its project, Strengthening Partnerships, Results, Innovations, in Nutrition Globally (SPRING). The project's work in Nigeria aimed to:
The SPRING/Nigeria approach focused on the rollout of nationally approved community and facility IYCF training packages and complementary social and behavior change communication approaches. SPRNG worked at the national level to strengthen nutrition coordination and policy efforts, and provides technical assistance to the Government of Nigeria and USAID implementing partners to roll out the IYCF counseling package and strengthened their nutrition programming to reach orphans and vulnerable children (OVC).
Since June 2012, SPRING has directly trained 2,453 participants in IYCF with project activity coverage reaching 36,553 OVC households across 16 states and 104 local government areas (LGAs). This has resulted in the establishment of over 950 project-supported IYCF support groups that encourage and counsel community members around optimal feeding and nutrition and hygiene care practices to protect and promote the health, development, and wellbeing of children within the critical 1,000 days.