Listen to the High-Impact Growth podcast : Candid conversations about technology for humanity


Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique - Nutrition Behavioral Change SMS - Dimagi

By Paulo Nunes, Anita Kruger and Khanyisa Bomba

Gorongosa National Park (GNP) was considered one of the premier protected areas in Southern Africa in the 1960’s and 1970’s. However, since the mid 1970’s, civil strife and rampant poaching decimated wildlife and destroyed tourism infrastructure. The Gorongosa Restoration Project (GRP) was founded in 2008 by the Carr Foundation as part of an initial 20-year agreement with the Government of Mozambique to see GNP flourish again. Since then, key projects from a wide range of areas such as health, education and more, have assisted wildlife populations who live on the GNP buffer-zone to naturally recover. To ensure long-term success of biodiversity conservation efforts GRP recognises that effective programs to improve environmental governance and the lives of people living on the buffer-zone of the park are essential to secure Gorongosa’s future.

To that end, Gorongosa Restoration Project is implementing an mHealth strategy to complement Give Directly’s (an American NGO recipient of USAID funds) unconditional cash transfer approach, given the encouraging evidence regarding cash transfer and nutrition outcomes. According to, studies from 56 cash transfer programmes have shown strong evidence that direct cash transfer programmes are associated with a decrease in monetary poverty. GiveWell also supports this positive view on cash transfer programmes noting that, “Cash transfers have the strongest track record we’ve seen for a non-health intervention, and are a priority program of ours.” It has been proven that cash transfer programs reduce some of the social determinants for health such as poor nutrition intake by making it possible for  people to improve their feeding habits not only quantitatively but also qualitatively. 

GRP is working with Give Directly to support the implementation of a cash transfer project paired together with an SMS-based nutrition behavior change initiative.  In partnership with Dimagi, GRP will develop a CommCare-based mHealth application aimed at nudging cash recipients to adopt improved nutrition and food security behaviors with a portion of their cash transfer. The application features SMS campaigns (both one-way and two-way surveys) related to nutrition behavior change.

Apart from guaranteeing a diversified diet, the program strives to increase the number of women who seek medical assistance at the health facilities during their pregnancy and breastfeeding period, increase the numbers of childbirths in health facilities, and children from 0 to 5 years old who attend medical follow-up consultations at health facilities.

Initial discussions between Give Directly and GRP began in early 2020 with an original intent to support the region deeply impacted by Cyclone Idai in 2019, with a particular focus on supporting maternal and child nutrition and testing the viability of cash transfers in Mozambique. The COVID19 pandemic caused several delays, but the focus remains the same: can cash transfers work in Mozambique, and can it be successfully paired with SMS campaigns to support nutrition behavior change? GiveDirectly is leading implementation of the monthly cash transfers, while GNP will work together with Dimagi to develop the mHealth initiative. 

In 2020 Dimagi and Gorongosa National Park developed a sustainable farming application that has been successfully adopted to promote sustainable farming practices in the communities in and around Gorongosa National Park. When the opportunity to embark on another exciting project together arose, both Dimagi and GRP were excited to leverage their existing relationship to create further impact in the region. 

The project will target 5,000 households in Nhamatanda district of Mozambique within one administrative post (Tica) and the ~27 communities within it.

To find out more about CommCare and how it can support protocols to affect behavioral change please reach out to our Solutions Delivery Team at



Build secure, customizable apps, enabling your frontline teams to collect actionable data and amplify your organization’s impact.

Dimagi Blog

Uncover the successes, learnings and valuable insights shared by partners, industry leaders, and sector specialists on our team.


A comprehensive virtual care platform designed to enable remote treatment support through digital engagement tools.