Household decision-making around food in rural Tajikistan: a cross-sectional study to help extension workers in the field
This study was conducted to research and develop recommendations for gender transformative approaches that will address misconceptions around food and nutrition, and reducing barriers around dietary diversity within rural Khatlon Province, Tajikistan. Most of the population in Tajikistan live in rural areas and spend a large part of their income on food. While stunting in children under 5 years has decreased, acute malnutrition and the number of underweight children has increased. This is a qualitative, cross-sectional study that involved secondary data analysis, key informant interviews (KIIs), and focus group discussions (FGDs) to gauge appropriate interventions for agricultural extension agents seeking to improve the nutritional outcomes of their communities. In February of 2017, data were collected from 4 KIIs and 15 FGDs that were stratified as mothers with young children, mothers-in-law, and husbands, across 12 different villages. Analysis of the KIIs and FGDs included NVivo software for coding and to uncover the most salient themes and characteristics from each. The participants of this study reported several misconceptions and taboos surrounding certain foods, especially during pregnancy, and food practices for children under the age of 5 years. Results also indicated a household hierarchy of decision-making surrounding food that included who buys, cooks, and decides what to buy. The findings of this study will be used as a springboard to launch gender-responsive and nutritionsensitive interventions through the local agricultural extension agents.
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