Nourishing networks: A social-ecological analysis of a network intervention for improving household nutrition in Western Kenya

Autumn L. DeLorme, Erika R. Gavenus, Charles R. Salmen, Gor Ouma Benard, Brian Mattah, Elizabeth Bukusi, Kathryn J. Fiorella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Rationale A growing body of research emphasizes the need to engage social networks in maternal and child nutrition interventions. However, an understanding of how interventions functionally engage not only mothers but fathers, grandparents, friends, and other social network members remains limited. Objective This study uses an adaptation of a social-ecological model to analyze the multiple levels at which the Kanyakla Nutrition Program operates to change behavior. Methods This study analyzes focus group data (four groups; n = 35, 7 men and 28 women) following the implementation of the Kanyakla Nutrition Program, a novel nutrition intervention engaging social networks to increase nutrition knowledge, shift perceptions, and promote positive practices for infant and young child feeding and community nutrition in general. Results: Participant perspectives indicate that the Kanyakla Nutrition Program contributed to nutrition knowledge and confidence, changed perceptions, and supported infant and child feeding practices at the individual, interpersonal, and institutional levels. However, many respondents report challenges in transcending barriers at the broader community and systems levels of influence, where environmental and economic constraints continue to affect food access. Conclusion Analysis of the Kanyakla Nutrition Program suggests that for interventions addressing household level determinants of nutrition, simultaneously engaging the household's network of interpersonal and community relationships can play a role in building momentum and consensus to address persistent structural barriers to improved nutrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Partnership for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Program and USAID, which supported the development of the Kanyakla Nutrition Program. This publication was produced by the authors with support provided by PATH , under a grant by the UK Aid from the UK Government; however, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK Government's official policies. Data was collected in collaboration with the Research on Environmental and Community Health Study, funded by NSF-GEO grant CNH 115057 . Additional support was provided by Arizona State University Global Development Research Program (GDR) in Partnership with USAID Global Development Lab (to AA), an NSF-DDRI ( 1434317 ) and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University (to KJF).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Breastfeeding
  • Focus groups
  • Food security
  • Infant and young child feeding
  • Kenya
  • Social networks


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