The “Gender Model Family” Approach, Women’s Empowerment & Nutrition


KIT is conducting applied research with Welthungerhilfe to generate evidence on how the Gender Model Family (GMF) approach works in practice as a form of gender transformative programming in Sierra Leone. The research aims to understand how GMF contributes to women’s empowerment, better nutrition and agrobiodiversity outcomes.

Family-led progress on nutrition & harmful gender norms

The GMF is a gender transformative approach to community mobilisation, which means that it addresses the unequal power relations between women and men and aims to promote a longer-term transformation of harmful gender norms. The GMF emerged from a recognition that targeting women alone was not sufficient to address the unequal power relations that contribute to malnutrition and food insecurity. The approach works by establishing role model families and engaging both the wives and husbands as ‘change agents’. Their task is to become positive examples for others and to encourage the men and women to work together to manage the household, become better parents and address behaviours that hinder progress on nutrition.

Promoting equitable nutrition and women’s empowerment

The overall goal of the project—known as the ‘Linking Agriculture, Natural Resource Management (and WASH) towards Nutrition Security’ (LANN+)—is to improve the food and nutrition security of vulnerable rural communities in four Chiefdoms in Kenema District, Sierra Leone. It does so through work in nutrition education, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, nutrition-sensitive WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and community-based natural resource management. SEND, the implementing partner of Welthungerhilfe, is working with the GMF approach to ensure equitable outcomes for both women and men.

KIT aims to generate evidence on women’s empowerment within the context of nutrition-sensitive agriculture programmes (nutrition outcomes are incorporated into project design). KIT provided input into the baseline design and also produced and pilot-tested qualitative action learning tools around gender transformation. KIT is currently providing technical support with the roll-out and analysis of key findings.