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Data collection for advocacy and policy improvement within the Kayes region of Mali

In Mali, like in most countries of the Sahel strip, malnutrition is a serious public health problem. It is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality among children under 5 years of age. To better address the acuteness of malnutrition, the Mali government developed a Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Plan implemented by Capsule-Community Nutrition Support Groups (CNSG) who ensure that the objectives of this policy are met.

For a better understanding of how the CNSG functions, the Right2Grow program in Mali is conducting a locally led research project focused on CNSG's role in improving nutrition and WASH indicators at community level in the commune of Koniakary, within the Kayes region. This project uses community based approaches to further identify the strengths and gaps of the CNSG towards improving people's nutritional status.

Data is collected through individual interviews and focus group discussions with CNSG members, community members and their leaders, direct users of CNSG services, institutional actors and other key stakeholders. This data will help to strengthen advocacy around safe access to WASH and nutrition with specific focus on how financial resources could be optimized in a way that improves the functioning of CNSG for communities.

"In the commune of Koniakary, we are currently conducting research around water, hygiene and sanitation activities, and the perception of the community and their leaders in relation to the project. I can say that the research project is evolving as desired,” says Dr. Samou Diarra, Principal Investigator of the project.

Research is a crucial step in the advocacy process, as it creates evidence that can help to make a considerable impact on future policy improvements in Kayes but most importantly having community members at the center of collecting data, analyzing it and using it for advocacy purposes is a unique way of creating sustainable community led transformation.

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