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close this book Community Nutrition Action for Child Survival
close this folder Part II - Planning nutrition action projects
close this folder Unit 2: Finding the causes of malnutrition
View the document Session 1: Conducting a community nutrition mini-survey
View the document Session 2: Analyzing community nutrition information

Session 2: Analyzing community nutrition information


Trainees will organize and present community nutrition information to answer general questions about the families they interviewed in Session 1.

Time: 2 hours


- Charts

- Handout - Questions About Your Sample"

- Newsprint

- Marking pens


1. Ask survey teams to make general comments about their experience interviewing families. How many families did they interview? Where or what part of the community did they visit? Were people friendly?

2. Pass out the Handout - Questions About Your Sample. " Tell teams you would now like them to use the questionnaires from their household interviews to answer the questions on this handout. Several charts have been included on the handout to make it easier for teams to combine information about their families. You may want to complete one of the charts with the group to explain how the charts are to be used. Teams should be prepared to present their answers to the group.

3. Coordinate the presentation of survey findings by each team of trainees. Write each team's answers to the specific questions on a wall version of the handout. At the end of the presentations, show the combined totals for all of the teams.



Team 1

Team 2

Team 3


1. How many families did you interview?





2. How many children under 5 years of age?





4. Calculate percentages from the groups' totals for several of the questions.


# 3. Malnourished children as a percent of the total number of children under 5 years

#11. Women with anemia as a percent of the total number of women

#12. Women using modern family planning methods as a percent of the total number of women 15-49 years or total number of eligible couples

5. Summarize group presentations, and ask participants to comment on the similarities and differences in their findings. If there are obvious common problems that can be identified, call the group's attention to them.

6. Ask survey teams to decide: What information would they present to the community leaders as follow-up to this survey? How would they present it? (Allow 10 minutes.) Ask survey teams to describe their plans for providing feedback to the community and discuss.

7. Go on to Session 3.



1. How many families did you interview?


2. How many children under five years were in those families?


3. How many children were found to be malnourished?


(Total Red and Yellow)


Severely malnourished? (Red)


Moderately malnourished? (Yellow)


4. How many of the total children had been sick during the past two weeks (month)?


5. Complete the chart below with the illnesses reported, the causes given by the respondents and the treatment received.


Number Reporting


Treatment Reported


6. How many children were being fed a mix of foods that could be considered adequate according to their age?

Guidelines (depends on national guidelines)

Total No. children this age group

How many followed guidelines?

How many did not follow guidelines?

0-5 months

Breast milk only (A)


6 months -2 years

Breast milk




Energy (B)


Body-building (C)


Protective (D)


2-3 (5) years

Energy (B)


Body-building (C)


Protective (D)




7. How many children had no immunizations?

How many children had three or more immunizations?

8. How many women were interviewed?

9. How many women interviewed are currently pregnant?

10. How many women interviewed are currently breastfeeding?

11. How many women showed signs of anemia?

12. How many women/couples interviewed are using a family planning method?

13. How many of the other women/couples were interested in using family planning?

14. What are the crops grown by most of the families interviewed?

15. How many families reported that their production did not meet the year's food requirements? When is the food shortage?

16. What animals do families raise?

17. How many families have latrines?

18. Sources of water for families?


Open Stream/River

Tapped Stream


Standing Water


19. How many families reported tuberculosis among family members?

Session 3: A profile of malnutrition in the community


Trainees use the information collected about malnourished children in the mini-survey to identify the primary causes of moderate and severe malnutrition in the community.

Time: 1 1/2 hours


- Newsprint and marking pens or chalkboard and chalk

- Large wall chart - "A Profile of Malnutrition in the Community"


Prior to the session, attach several sheets of newsprint to the wall and prepare a chart like the example provided "A Profile of Malnutrition in the Community."


1. Ask each survey team to present information only on the malnourished children they identified in the mini-survey. As the team reports, write the corresponding information for each child on the wall chart.

2. When a team comes to its diagnosis of the causes of malnutrition and a plan of action for each child, ask the group if they would agree with the team's assessment. If they do not agree, ask the team to provide more information from their observations and discussions in the home, justifying their conclusions.

3. When all of the teams have reported, you will have a chart that can be used for comparing the characteristics of malnourished children. Ask the group to generalize about the characteristics of malnutrition in the community from the information on the chart (i.e., age most affected, family size, illnesses experienced, use of health services, food production, etc.).

4. Tell trainees that the survey they conducted was a mini-survey. Because we have not followed strict sampling techniques, we cannot say that our findings are representative of the entire community, but only of those families we interviewed.

5. Mini-surveys are often helpful during the planning and implementation of action projects. They give project managers a better understanding of the lives of the people their projects assist. Results of mini-surveys can also be used to determine educational messages and to find out a community's preferences or expectations for services.

6. Summary: Review the types of questions asked in the survey. They focused on the:

- nutritional status of the child; - the feeding of the child;

- illnesses and common treatments; - immunization status;

- the size of the family, child survival and use of family planning;

- the food resources of the family and whether or not their production is enough to meet their needs; and

- other factors that might affect nutrition of children (i.e., tuberculosis, sanitation, etc.).

There are many other questions we could ask about the problems and resources of individual families and the community. The questions answered during this exercise are a beginning. They are important because they focus on some of the most common causes of malnutrition and because their answers can be used by managers to plan for individual and community action.


Answer for malnourished child

Answer for the family of the malnourished child


Feeding habits

Illness (child)

Child spacing

Food/Animal Production


Team Assessment

Age of mal-nourished Child

Nutrition Status of Mal-nourished Child



# of meals per day

Names of Illness


# Immunizations

# Births

# Living

Family Planning





Causes of Malnutrition

Plan of