According to the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, 28 percent of Ghanaian children under the age 5 are stunted, 7.5 percent are wasted, and 13.9 percent are underweight. Nationally, rates of stunting in children under the age of five decreased from 30 percent in 2003, although stunting rates in the northern regions remain high with an increase in some regions. Among the regions with the highest rate of stunting is the Northern Region, with stunting rates at 32.4 percent, and with wasting rates among the highest in the country at 13 percent. Nationally, stunting levels are shown to increase for children in the second year of life, aligning with the introduction of complementary food.
Resiliency in Northern Ghana (RING) was a five-year USAID-funded project implemented by Global Communities, the prime, with technical assistance from JSI and other partners. RING was an integrated project and partnership effort under USAID's Feed the Future Initiative designed to contribute to the Government of Ghana efforts to sustainably reduce poverty and improve the nutrition status of vulnerable populations. The project's goal was improved livelihoods and nutritional status of vulnerable populations. In support of the goal, RING aimed to improve the livelihood and nutritional status of vulnerable households in targeted communities in 17 districts in the Northern Region.
Consistent with USAID Forward principles of direct support to host governments, RING was implemented through a collaborative approach with District Assemblies and with the Northern Region Coordinating Council.
JSI supported nutrition-related activities in all 17 RING districts by providing technical assistance to implement activities that led to increased adoption of positive nutrition behaviors using the following key strategies:
- Reduce training gaps in key nutrition areas to service providers within the facility and other government line ministries, including infant and young child feeding, and anemia prevention and treatment
- Improve quality of high impact nutrition services through supportive supervision and nutrition-related quality improvement processes
- Improve knowledge, attitudes, and skills regarding priority nutrition interventions among caretakers and other community members
- Strengthen community based platforms for nutrition related strategies
- Enhance nutrition sensitive agriculture
- Facilitate the quality assurance and management oversight role of regional Ghana Health Service in nutrition activities
- Strengthen facility level logistics and supply chain for key nutrition commodities
Learn more about the project in an article titled When The Sweet Potato Goes Viral: A New Approach to Nutrition Programming in Northern Ghana on the USAID IMPACT blog