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Blog post 19 Feb 2024

2023- 2024 Research Fellow Spotlight- Francis Eddie Boyenge

Your name:  

Francis Eddie Boyenge

Research project name:  

Barriers and enablers of psychosocial stimulation support delivered through the care group approach for malnourished children of 6 to 35 months in the Kyaka II Refugee Settlement in Western Uganda. 

Country of research: 


Description of research project: 

The current project stemmed from the evidence of inadequate psychosocial stimulation support for malnourished children in the Kyaka II Refugee Settlement. This six-month longitudinal study aims to explore the barriers and enablers of this intervention delivered through the Care Group Approach, an innovative community-based strategy to improve nutrition behavior change in a large population while maintaining low cost and sustainability. 

Currently, one hundred seventy-four malnourished children receive bi-weekly play therapy from trained Care Group Volunteers in groups of six mother-child dyads with spillover effect to other children in the neighborhood. The final project report will describe the associated implementation outcomes measured.   

What does this project mean to you:  

As a Human Nutritionist in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement in Western Uganda, seeing malnourished children play and get better daily gives me true joy. Cognizant of my contribution to this initiative gives me personal fulfillment. The current modification of the Care Group approach to incorporate psychosocial support has been an excellent opportunity to stimulate malnourished children effectively at a low cost. Additionally, the project will highlight the barriers and opportunities that will drive the scale-out efforts to other zones and refugee settlements.  

Professionally, I have received comprehensive mentorship from researchers in Early Childhood Development. I plan to leverage this exposure and network to develop many other interventions that will solve other pressing developmental needs of children in an emergency. The opportunity to publish my first journal article will boost my identity in the research space. Through this achievement, I will meet researchers in other fields of study that complement my work for more extensive, impactful projects. Ultimately, this project is a crucial enabler for achieving SDG 4: “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre–primary education so that they are ready for primary education” (Target 4.2).