Using an app, training, and advocacy to fight malnutrition among children with disabilities
- Count Me In (app)
- Country of Implementation
- Start Year
- First published
“Good nutrition is the bedrock of child survival and development. With Count Me In, I can equip caregivers with nutrition knowledge and feeding practices to help children with disabilities grow, learn, and play.” Lutgard Musiime, Nutrition and Feeding Master Trainer, SPOON
SPOON, an international development NGO based in Portland, Oregon (U.S.), runs a project that combines training with a health app called Count Me In to advocate against malnutrition among children with disabilities. Trained service providers use Count Me In to assess and monitor children’s growth, anaemia status, and feeding challenges. In 2022, SPOON trained nearly 600 people in nine countries (primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, but also in Croatia and Viet Nam) who reached over 14,000 children. Count Me In also produces data to advocate for inclusive policies, services, and investments.
Children with disabilities experience high rates of malnutrition due to a lack of inclusive nutrition support, and consequently are also more likely to be institutionalized.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
SPOON, an international development NGO based in Portland, Oregon (US), has embarked on a pioneering project in the fight against child malnutrition, particularly focusing on children with disabilities. This initiative combines training, a digital health app called Count Me In, and advocacy to support children with disabilities. The project is working in partnership with civil society and governments across diverse settings. The initiative involves training service providers in health, social work, childcare, and early child development through both online and in-person curricula. These trainees gain expertise in nutrition, feeding, disability, and child development. Once trained, service providers use the Count Me In app to assess and monitor children's growth, anaemia status, and feeding challenges over time. It provides recommendations and care plans, enabling service providers to guide families and caregivers in safe, responsive feeding and nutrition practices. In 2022 alone SPOON trained nearly 600 individuals in nine countries, ultimately reaching over 14,000 children. As of October 2023, some 3,600 children were monitored using the app. Of those who received multiple anaemia assessments, preliminary data show the anaemia rate has declined by 40 per cent, and rates of wasting (weighing too little for one’s height) dropped by 23 per cent.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
Implementation of the project in Zambia and Uganda is funded through grants from the GHR Foundation, a U.S.-based foundation, , and by UNICEF in Lesotho. The development of Count Me In was funded by a dedicated fundraising campaign. SPOON and its partners also work with government entities, including ministries of health and social development, to improve the inclusion of children with disabilities in national efforts to end malnutrition. (Awardee 2024)