GRANDMOTHERs: An abundant and underutilized cultural resource for promoting child and maternal nutrition and health

Tuesday, 19 November, 2013


Presenter: Judi Aubel, President, The Grandmother Project

Community nutrition/health programs should build on the roles of key household actors that influence the well-being of women, children and adolescents across the life cycle. In non-western societies in Africa, Asia and Latin America which are generally organized along multi-generational and hierarchical lines senior women, or grandmothers, are influential actors and they can be an important resource to catalyze positive change. Grandmothers play a culturally-designated and influential role at decisive times in the lives of women and children including:  pregnancy; delivery; newborn care; young child illness; and adolescent development.  

The presentation included: 

• an overview of evidence of GMs’ role and influence on health-related norms and practices at major steps in the life cycle of women, children and adolescents; 

• description of key parameters of an assets-based, grandmother-inclusive approach that promotes culturally-grounded and systemic change from within communities;

• examples of successful programs supported by Grandmother Project: Change through Culture using a grandmother-inclusive approach to address:  pregnancy and newborn care in Mali; maternal and child nutrition in Senegal; home management of childhood illness in Laos; and teen pregnancy in Senegal;

• lessons learned using a grandmother-inclusive approach in community health/nutrition interventions that can be used in other socio-cultural settings.

(French) Presentation