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Fathers group 2 Nigeria Yobe Judith Sambe Owoicho for Action contre la Faim



FATHERS GROUP: Fathers unite in the fight malnutrition


 The group brings thousands of men together in small groups of 15 to educate, encourage and ensure the adoption of appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices by the fathers in a monthly meeting. The group seeks out fathers of children aged 0–23 months whose wives are active members of the women’s care group, the meetings focus on what men can do to improve the nutrition and health of their wives and children. It also aims to create the much-needed synergy in decision-making in the home between husband and wife.


Hassan’s commitment

With his left hand raised and close to his temple, his right hand clutched tightly to his chest like one about to take an Oath in the court of law, Hassan Mamman recites with the others after the care group leader:

“We promise, that every one of us is going to construct a tippy tap in our household and that those that have no latrine will construct one for the members of his household. We will not allow diseases that are related with poor sanitation to affect us and our neighbors or malnutrition to affect our children and our neighbors so help us God”.

“The tape is very easy to use,” he says as he scuffles through his transparent blue bag to bring out the color-coded bracelet. It is wrapped around the mid arm like a bracelet and the color codes- green, yellow and red help you detect malnutrition in children. He started his mission in his household with his children, proceeded to his neighbor’s children and then farther down into the community.

It was on a day like this in the last meeting a month ago after hearing about nutrition that Hassan made a commitment to ensure that no child in his community will be malnourished. He was given the malnutrition measuring tape called the mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) tape. 

"I went from house to house and I eventually found a child who was malnourished after the measurement."
Hassan - Fathers group Nigeria
Hassan Mamman
Yobe, Nigeria

He referred them to one of the Action Against Hunger supported health facilities  in the community. Hassan went on to educate the parents on the importance of complementary foods that they should add to the diet of the child when breast milk is no longer enough to meet their nutritional needs- this should normally starts from 6 to 18-24 months of age. He also taught them how essential varying the family diet instead of restricting them to just one class of food can be to keep them healthy. He gave them the porridge recipe of ground millet, soya beans and groundnut for the child and a month later, the child was out of danger as his MUAC measurement read green. He is healthy again.

Fathers Group @Judith Sambe Owoicho for Action contre la Faim

Fathers group

Judith Sambe Owoicho for Action contre la Faim

Hassan-Fathers group Judith Sambe Owoicho for Action contre la Faim

Hassan Mamman

Judith Sambe Owoicho for Action contre la Faim


It was on the same day Idris Yusuf heard about malnutrition. This was not the first time Idris heard about malnutrition in his life, he just never knew what it was, its threats or indeed that it was lurking at his doorstep. After he took the commitment, he went home with the tape and started with his children as he said, “charity begins at home”. He put it around his son’s arm and was surprised to see the tape read red, meaning his son was severely malnourished. Thanks to the teaching from the father’s group, he quickly took his son to the Action against hunger stabilization centre where he was admitted for days to receive treatment. Today little Ahmed is a healthy boy.”

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