Fathers’ and grandmothers’ motivation to serve as volunteer peer educators to improve maternal and child nutrition in Western Kenya (119.2)
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Sub optimal maternal and child nutrition practices contribute to high rates of stunting and mortality in Western Kenya. In formative research to understand the sociocultural context of nutrition, mothers identified fathers and grandmothers as highly influential, and they, in turn, expressed a desire to better support family nutrition. We implemented a peer-led group dialogue-based intervention designed to engage fathers and grandmothers to improve nutrition practices. After four months, we conducted a qualitative process evaluation to document peer educators’ and group members’ experiences. In-depth interviews with 19 peer educators and 19 focus group discussions with members were conducted and analyzed thematically. We found that father and grandmother peer educators were motivated by improved communication with mothers, increased respect and appreciation from their families, and group members’ positive changes in behavior. Fathers also reported being motivated by increased respect from the community. Findings suggest it is important to build on culturally-defined roles for fathers as providers and grandmothers as advisers, develop targeted messages specific to these roles, and officially recognize their training and contributions as peer educators. Understanding participation and motivation is central to the success, sustainability, and scalability of peer-led nutrition interventions.