Policy-making and enabling environment
Securing and maintaining high-level political support for both nutrition and EAS is key to ensuring the inter-ministerial coordination and resource allocation necessary for EAS to play a meaningful role in contributing to nutritional outcomes.
National multi-sectorial nutrition policies and strategies could provide a starting point for the integration of EAS delivery systems and nutrition activities. However, there needs to be an alignment with agricultural policies and priorities as well. Multi-sectorial coordination, particularly between the agriculture and health sectors, lies at the heart of integrating nutrition into EAS. While there are successful examples of coordination at the grassroots and district levels, stakeholders noted the need for higher-level support and engagement to replicate and scale successes.
Evidence of impact and potential scalability
With the increased attention on, and investment in, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, EAS should be considered as an important potential contributor to delivering effective nutrition to rural farming communities. EAS could be a promising vehicle for delivering nutrition interventions through agriculture. The extent to which it is effective to rely on EAS to deliver nutrition interventions is uncertain. Much more understanding is needed of what approaches have the most significant impact on nutrition outcomes. Without that understanding, and research to assess impact, it is difficult to understand the effectiveness of integration of nutrition into extension.
Beyond gaining evidence of what approaches are most appropriate, there also needs to be significant investment and ramping up of EAS in general. If EAS are unable to provide the most basic agriculture services, it will be much more difficult to layer nutrition interventions, messages, and activities within their portfolio. EAS systems need support – financial, training, human resources, and infrastructure – to ensure that the services that are provided are robust.