Welcome to the Nutrition-Sensitive Extension Library!
The GFRAS Nutrition Working Group (NWG) collected and organized the materials in this library so that extensionists, program developers, researchers, and decision makers would be able to access existing resources related to agricultural extension and advisory services (AEAS), and nutrition. Growing attention to the need to make food systems more responsive to human nutrition has motivated related AEAS activities, yet NWG members identified that project-level materials were often hard to find. It is our hope that by making resources available in a searchable platform, individuals working in this area can build off of the experience of previous activities and effectively meet the needs and opportunities that they encounter.
Do you have a resource that you would like to make available in the library? Please submit it here!
About the Nutrition Working Group:
The NWG aims to bring global attention to leveraging RAS for improved nutrition by engaging relevant stakeholders: practitioners, researchers, donors, etc. It was initiated by GFRAS, the INGENAES project, and FAO in 2016.
Nutrition-sensitive Extension Library (142)
Best Practice Tips on Measurement Tools for Gender Equity and Nutrition Impact
An important first step in strengthening gender equity and nutrition outcomes involves having reliable methods of measurement of current conditions (Ballard et al. 2011). Measurement tools and indicators have been developed and validated for measuring nutrition outcomes (FANTA 2008; FAO and FHI 360 2016) and gender equity (Malapit et al. 2014; Alkire et al. 2013) at international level. Measurement helps to hold implementers accountable for the actions they take towards improving the status of gender equity and/or nutrition outcomes in their target areas.
Fostering Agriculture - Nutrition Links
Malnutrition continues to be a major development challenge in the South Asia Region. Given its size, India hosts the majority of the malnourished. Around 300 million people in India do not have access to a food supply that sufficiently meets their basic energy needs (World Bank 2012. Nutrition at A Glance: India. Washington, DC: World Bank Group). Despite recent economic growth, poverty remains high, and malnutrition is now manifest in all its forms with overweight and obesity increasing alongside persistent undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. The progress made between 1970 and 2010 in reducing malnutrition was largely due to improving access to safe water, female education, and female empowerment, the latter 2 especially key in South Asia. The factor that made the least progress between 1995 and 2010 is increasing quantity and quality of food, clearly a responsibility of agriculture (L. Smith and L. Haddad 2014, “Reducing Child Undernutrition: Past Drivers and Priorities for the Post-MDG Era.” IDS Working Paper 441).
Linking Agricultural Extension, ICT and Youth Engagement to Promote Family Nutrition in Nepal
From March 20-22, 2017, a group of fifteen Nepali innovators that together reach millions of nutrition-sensitive agriculture stakeholders gathered to explore how they could collaborate to promote family nutrition (see Appendix 1 for participant list). Together individuals brought expertise in agricultural extension, nutrition extension, ICT development and youth civic engagement, and represented government, private and civil society sectors.
This effort reflected exploratory research findings that identified the potential of linking these arenas to take on the cultural, social and informational barriers to nutrition-sensitive agriculture, with a particular emphasis on potential/returning migrant workers and their families (INGENAES publication by Pokharel, Erbstein and Budhathoki, forthcoming 2017). The workshop was designed to build relationships and share knowledge across these typically disconnected sectors in order to generate ideas, practices and action at their intersections. A highly participatory process involving all as presenters and members of work groups produced rich information about enhancing family nutrition via agricultural extension, ICT and youth engagement in Nepal.
Women’s Empowerment and Child Nutrition: Reducing the Gap with Dairy Cow Rearing
In Bangladesh, rural households rear cattle as a component of mixed farming rather than on a truly commercial basis. Like most Asian countries, rural Bangladeshi women extensively participate in livestock management, especially in rearing dairy cows (FAO, 2003; Anderson and Eswaran, 2007; Hashemi et al., 1996; Kabeer 1998) yet society rarely recognizes them as farmers. Consequently, women still receive limited extension services or other support and therefore their contributions to dairy value chains are less than they could be.
Stories From the Field: Improving Nutrition and Livelihoods Through Farmer Field and Life Schools
Malnutrition is a threat to the wellbeing of vulnerable populations in Eastern Africa. Poor rural households often do not have access to high quality and nutritious foods or they lack a good understanding of improved nutrition habits. Through the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), women and men in the region are now being trained on the nutritious value of locally available foods through the Farmer Field and Life Schools (FFLS).
Stories From the Field: Food and Nutrition Challenges in North-western Kenya
Securing food supplies is a struggle some pastoral communities in the Horn of Africa face every day. In the semi-arid north-western region of Kenya, members of the Pokot and Turkana tribes live on two meals per day. FAO REOA and its partners have rolled out the Pastoralist Field Schools (PFS) programme to help improve the food and nutrition security situation, but the local communities are still vulnerable. Cheppurai Lolli and Elizabeth Imuran, both PFS members, share their experiences.
Country Level Programming in Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture
This report presents the findings from the UNSCN’s review on Country Level Programming for Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture, and summarizes the current concept of and evidence base for nutrition sensitive agriculture, as well as provides an overview of cross-cutting gender considerations in programming, namely in regards to how nutrition-sensitive programming can contribute to improved gender equality. Resilience building and nutrition education are also discussed as cross-cutting themes. This work has been made possible through the sponsorship by the Government of CANADA.
Monitoring & Evaluation, Rumonge, Burundi
The FFS group in Rumonge had just started holding regular meeting sessions, facilitated by a female facilitator trained in the Ngozi TOF. Field activities so far had included establishment of a nursery for vegetables (cabbage, tomatoes, eggplant, amaranths, onion etc.). The group has access to two plots, one right on the shore of a river close to the resident area of members, and another plot on the prison owned land close to the lake shore. Tomatoes production was planned to form the groups learning enterprise, and experimental plots were to be established the following week. The group had a formal structure in place with group officials and FFS sub-groups (all with names and slogans). A majority of members were women and considered vulnerable due to poverty or health status. The group meets weekly on Wednesdays for FFS learning sessions.
Singing the Same Song: Nutrition-sensitive Agriculture Messages in Zambia
Zambia has experienced more than a decade of robust economic growth and stable maize production, yet food and nutrition security has not improved significantly. Over 40% of children under five are stunted (Central Statistical Office, 2015) and 48% of the population is undernourished (FAO/IFAD/WFP 2015). Growing evidence suggests that this seeming paradox may be associated with an overemphasis on production and consumption of the staple crop, maize: roughly 51% of cultivated land is committed to maize, which constitutes 57% of the national diet.
Feeding the Five Thousand: How Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools are bridging the nutritional gap in Kakuma
“In the last three months, the children have made over ten thousand shillings from the sale of kales, brinjals, spinach, tomatoes, capsicum and carrots to the neighbouring communities. Besides, the school has also been using the same plots to feed the children themselves”, says a proud Ekal Lochi. A teacher at Kalobeyei Boarding Primary School, Mr. Lochi, who is also the JFFLS facilitator at the school, proudly displays the children’s own farm records of the returns of their farming efforts at the school. The profits, he explains, are used for their upkeep in case of sickness and to pay for examinations.
Mainstreaming Nutrition into Agricultural Extension
Lessons Learned from Two Projects that Integrated Agricultural Interventions and Nutrition in Bangladesh
Food and nutrition security exists when all people are able to consume food in both sufficient quantity and quality to meet their dietary needs and food preferences, and they are supported by an environment with adequate sanitation, health services and care, allowing for a healthy and active life (FAO, 1996). Agriculture1 is fundamental to this widely held definition of food and nutrition security. Approximately half of the people of Bangladesh depend on agriculture for their livelihoods as a source of income. Two-thirds of them are women farmers. Most agricultural producers also purchase foods to supplement their home production (GoB, 2011). Despite high level of economic growth in recent years, malnutrition persists in many countries of the South Asian Region. Bangladesh has achieved significant economic growth and poverty reduction, yet continues to battle some of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world (World Bank, 2011). To improve the nutritional status of affected persons in Bangladesh, nutrition specific interventions such as Vitamin A supplementation, food supplementation, and immunization programmes have been in place for many years. Unfortunately, little focus has been placed on the broader resolutions of nutrition through agriculture (including horticulture, fisheries and animal husbandry) that play an important role in reducing undernutrition through food-based approaches as nutrition-sensitive interventions.
Women in Post-harvest Activities: Understanding their Health and Nutrition Behaviour
Bangladesh is a country with mainly paddy-based agriculture, which has managed to triple its rice production since independence in 1971, from 10 million metric tons to over 33.83 million metric tons (Krishi Dairy in Khatun, 2015). 76% of the country’s people live in the rural areas and 90% of them have livelihoods directly related to agriculture (Dev et al., 2014). From this perspective, rural women’s participation in post-harvest activities are one of the most important contributions in agricultural production in Bangladesh. However, in traditional Bangladeshi context, post-harvest work is simply seen as part of women’s household responsibilities; in other words, this work has little monetary value or social recognition. Though this scenario has been changing due to the new technological intervention and frequent market affiliation with rice production and processing, nowadays many women are working in mills (usually called rice mills) as cheap and conventional labour for their livelihood. In this aspect, the aim of this study is to explore the health and nutritional behaviour of rice mill women workers in Narina Union of Shahjadpur.
Engendering Agricultural Extension Services and Agricultural Marketing:
Promoting Female Headed Households Farmers’ Economic Empowerment for Securing Nutrition
The objective of this research is to incorporate women in extension services to enhance their economic empowerment to secure nutrition in their households. This study was carried out in Manikganj district with the help of Karmojibi Nari. The information was collected from women farmers of FHH, Government extension service officer, Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC) and Karmojibi Nari staff members, the chairman and another member of Manikganj Chamber of Commerce, and a group of community men. We used the in-depth interview method and Focus Group Discussion method as qualitative tools to collect data from the different target groups.
Farm Field Schools (Escuelas de Campo)
The purpose of this activity was to analyze the ability of Farmer Field Schools (Escuelas de Campo) to integrate gender and nutrition into agricultural extension programs and assess the current status of the Agricultural Extension System (AES) in Honduras. This research directly contributes to the vision of the Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agricultural Extension Services (INGENAES) initiative by informing project partners and local stakeholders on the potential of Escuelas de Campo as a platform for introducing gender and nutrition integration into agricultural extension programs.
Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Surrounding Nutrition among Extension Institutions and Their Beneficiaries in Honduras
In Honduras, women face high rates of discrimination and lack equal access to resources and services as compared to men. Gender inequality is intimately linked to nutrition, poverty, and agriculture, and all four issues often reinforce one another. For example, greater gaps in gender equality are associated with higher rates of malnutrition. When individuals have poor nutrition, their health and ability to work are affected, leading to lower incomes and reinforcement of poverty. These associations have serious implications on the local and national economy and human rights.
Infusing Agricultural Extension with Nutrition and Gender-sensitive Messages
A Needs Assessment Report from a Communications Perspective, based on Field Work in Bangladesh
Dr. Lulu Rodriguez and Lea Peck of the University of Illinois’ Agricultural Communications Program were asked to join an interdisciplinary team of students, faculty members and staff of two other universities that visited Bangladesh on behalf of the Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agricultural Services (INGENAES) project.
INGENAES’ mandate is to assist USAID’s Feed the Future missions to strengthen gender and nutrition integration within agricultural extension and advisory services (EAS). Its stated objectives are (1) to build robust nutrition-oriented institutions, projects and programs capable of assessing and responding to the nutrition needs of farmers and farm families; (2) identify, test the efficacy, and strengthen proven mechanisms for delivering improved EAS to women farmers; (3) disseminate gender-appropriate and nutrition-enhancing technologies and access to inputs to improve women’s agricultural productivity and enhance household nutrition; and (4) apply effective extension approaches and tools to enhance the nutritional status especially of those who reside in rural areas.
Men’s Perceptions of Their Roles and Involvement in Household Decisions around Food in Rural Bangladesh
INGENAES Case Study
Households include a number of decision-makers who hold varying beliefs about how family members should be involved with food—its purchase, preparation, distribution, consump-tion, and marketing. Households are complex and dynamic systems, involving gender and generational roles influenced by tradition, culture, circumstances, and historical changes. Taking on a household lens is compatible with a systems’ perspective on agricultural develop-ment, such as an agricultural innovation systems framework that incorporates “all the actors in the system and their interactions”, as well as institutions and policies that impact the system and its innovations.
The Farmer Field School Approach – History, Global Assessment and Success Stories
This section discusses the history of the farmer field school approach, including origin and emergence, characteristics and evolution of the approach, and the current global status.
Improved Nutrition Through Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services
Case Studies of Curriculum Review and Operational Lessons From India
Even after several decades of green revolution, malnutrition continues to be a major development challenge in much of South Asia, and India has a major share of the malnourished people in the region. The nutritional issues in India are complex and therefore require a multifaceted, multidisciplinary solution. One facet of the solution is increasing knowledge about the causes of and solutions to malnutrition at the farm household level through agricultural extension. Disseminating nutrition-sensitive agricultural knowledge is not currently an activity of agricultural extension in India, but there is great potential for integrating it through the well-established network of extension offi cers. For nutrition goals to be integrated into extension, the curricula provided to current and future agricultural extension agents must be revisited. As part of the South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (SAFANSI), this paper focuses on approaches to incorporating such nutrition content into the agricultural extension curriculum.
Three state agricultural universities in Tamil Nadu, united Andhra Pradesh, and Bihar were used as case studies for the curriculum review. Through these case studies, face-to-face consultations at the national level down to program implementation at the village level have been developed. These include consultative workshops, and a conceptual framework and strategy for incorporating nutrition into extension curriculum development to improve nutrition outcomes. This strategy, detailed in this report, includes opportunities for collaboration from the national level to the community level. Specifi c lessons and follow-up actions are outlined that may be useful for other South Asian countries.
The Coffee Agricultural Value Chain
INGENAES Tip Sheet
In many Latin American countries, coffee is considered one of the top export crops. Many rural families use coffee sales as a significant source of income, and in Honduras coffee production is around 26 percent of the 60 percent of total agricultural production (FAO, 2015). Coffee is an ideal crop for Honduras as there is limited arable land that is suitable for other types of agriculture, and it can be grown in the mountains. However, one of the challenges associated with coffee production is how the income that is generated from the sales is used to benefit the household. This activity sheet explores how income from coffee sales might be used to improve overall family nutrition.
La Cadena de Valor del Café
INGENAES Material Informativo
En muchos países latinoamericanos, el café es considerado uno de los principales cultivos de exportación. Muchas familias rurales utilizan las ganancias obtenidas de la venta de café como una fuente importante de ingresos. En Honduras la producción de café se calcula que es el 26% del 60% de la producción agrícola total (FAO, 2015). El café es un cultivo ideal para Honduras, ya que existen pocas tierras arables adecuadas para otros tipos de agricultura y además, se puede cultivar en las montañas. Sin embargo, uno de los retos asociados con la producción de café es la distribución del ingreso generado por la venta del café y como este, se utiliza para beneficio del hogar.
Esta hoja de actividades explora cómo los ingresos de la venta de café pueden ser utilizados para mejorar la nutrición de la familia.
Integrating Gender and Nutrition into the Granos Básicos (Basic Grains) Value Chains
INGENAES Info Sheet
In many Latin American countries, diets are based around “basic grains” – corn and beans. Many rural poor families depend on basic grains for their survival, and they are considered the most important crops to the social and economic life of Hondurans. Corn and beans represent twelve percent of the agricultural GDP and generate about 300,000 permanent jobs in Honduras (www.hondurasnews.com/basic-grains-crops-good). However, with climate change and poor farming practices, many families do not grow enough of these crops for their household needs and other nutritional needs are not met due to an overemphasis on these two food sources.
Integración del Género y la Nutrición en las Cadenas de Valor (Granos Básicos)
INGENAES Material Informativo
En muchos países de América Latina, las dietas se basan en "granos básicos" - maíz y frijoles. Muchas familias de los sectores rurales dependen de los granos básicos para solventar sus necesidades alimentarias. En Honduras los granos básicos desempeñan un importante rol en el aspecto social y económico. El maíz y los frijoles representan el 12% del PIB agrícola y generan cerca de 300.000 empleos permanentes en Honduras. Sin embargo, debido a factores como el cambio climático y en algunos casos inadecuadas prácticas agrícolas, la productividad de estos cultivos es baja y no suple las necesidades alimentarias y nutricionales del hogar.
Assessing Food Patterns and Gender Roles
INGENAES Tip Sheet
Nutrition is important in everyone’s lives, but what good nutrition specifically means may mean different things to different members of a community or family. Women may be the ones who prepare food, but they often have less influence on household decisions including what foods they prepare. It is important to include men in discussions as they may be making production, marketing or purchasing decisions. When men understand the contribution they can make, they can take action to improve family nutrition.
Infant Feeding and Exposure to Aflatoxins
INGENAES Technical Note
Aflatoxins play an important role in household health and nutrition.
Aflatoxins are fungal toxins produced by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Aspergillus is a common form of mold that can colonize and contaminate food before harvest or during storage, especially following a drought or prolonged exposure to a high-humidity environment.
Aflatoxin exposure in children can lead to stunted growth, developmental delays, and issues with immune suppression and increased susceptibility to infectious disease. Longer-term exposure to aflatoxins increases the risk for liver and gallbladder cancer. Factors that increase the risk of aflatoxicosis include limited amounts of food, environmental conditions that favor mold growth on food, and limited regulation and oversight for aflatoxin monitoring and control.
How Different Foods Help
INGENAES Info Sheet
A variety of foods from the different food groups need to be consumed on a daily basis to provide the body with energy, protect the body, and to help build the body. The purpose of the “How Different Foods Help” tip sheet is to encourage you to promote eating different foods, also called balanced meals or dietary diversity, on a daily basis to the people you meet and work with.
Eating Well – Staying Well
INGENAES Info Sheet
Even though many smallholder farmers around the world have been able to increase production and earn higher incomes from farming, what families eat and their nutritional status has not necessarily improved. People may not realize it, but some may suffer as a result of poor nutrition.
Basics of Nutrition
INGENAES Info Sheet
Food provides essential nutrients to help one perform daily activities, to support growth, to maintain energy, and to keep one healthy. The purpose of the “Basics of Nutrition” fact sheet is to provide an overview of the nutrients that people need to consume on a daily basis.
Recognizing Vitamin A Deficiency in Children
INGENAES Info Sheet
Families need to eat certain foods to help them stay strong, healthy, productive and smart. One important nutrient that some foods provide is vitamin A. When you don’t get enough vitamin A from the foods you eat, you have trouble seeing at night and other vision problems, and you may become more vulnerable to other illnesses, such as diarrhea and measles. Children and pregnant women especially need vitamin A, and if they don’t get it their health can be negatively affected forever, leaving them vulnerable to blindness and other life threatening diseases.
Integrating Gender and Nutrition into Agricultural Value Chains
INGENAES Activity Sheet
Women and men are likely to have different objectives for participating in agricultural value chains, and different abilities to access and use new technologies and information. Understanding these differences in terms of gender-based opportunities and constraints around decision-making, access and control of resources, and women's ability to engage in horizontal (e.g. producer groups) and vertical (e.g. with input suppliers and buyers) relationships along value chains is critical to developing effective agricultural value chains. By understanding the gender and nutrition dimensions along the value chain, and increasing women’s control of income generated from agricultural production, food security and family nutrition have been shown to increase.
What Should Go on the Plate?
INGENAES Activity Sheet
Girls and women often have unequal status in a household which can have negative long-term outcomes. The effects of inequalities in terms of individual health and well-being are well documented. The consequences of poor nutrition include low birth weights, child and maternal mortality, disease, decreased work production, and poor classroom performance. Increasing nutritional awareness when planning, facilitating, and evaluating extension programs is essential for the long-term health benefits not only for women and girls, but also for all family members.
Who Eats What?
NGENAES Activity Sheet
Child and maternal malnutrition – in particular child underweight, child micronutrient deficiencies, poor breastfeeding practices, and anemia – are by far the largest nutrition-related health burdens at the global level. “Cultural norms” are sometimes responsible for contributing to these issues and can be analyzed if the intra-household consumption patterns are “unpacked” with the community. If these cultural norms are better understood, opportunities for changing long-standing gendered behaviors related to food security and malnutrition can be improved.
Nutrition for Toddlers
INGENAES Activity Sheet
Providing toddlers (ages 9 -24 months) proper nutrition is an important part of their growth and development. The purpose of the “Nutrition for Toddlers” Activity Sheet is to encourage parents to feed their toddlers nutritious foods on a daily basis.
Nutrition for the Elderly
INGENAES Activity Sheet
Proper nutrition during our “golden years” is necessary to maintain bone and joint strength, brain health, and reduce illness. The purpose of the “Nutrition for the Elderly” Activity Sheet is to encourage elders to eat nutritious foods on a daily basis.
Nutrition for Pregnant Females
INGENAES Activity Sheet
Proper nutrition is critical for pregnant women, especially for them to feel well and active, for the growth and health of the baby, to facilitate the delivery, and to support breastfeeding. The purpose of the “Nutrition for Pregnant Women” Activity Sheet is to encourage women to eat nutritious foods on a daily basis during pregnancy.
Nutrition for Active Adults
INGENAES Fact Sheet
Proper nutrition for active adults is necessary to maintain strength, energy, and to reduce injuries and illness. The purpose of the “Nutrition for those who are Active” activity sheet is to encourage active adults to eat nutritious foods on a daily basis.
Nutrition for 6-9 Month Old Infants
INGENAES Fact Sheet
ntroducing solid foods, also known as complementary feeding, to infants is an important part of their growth and development. The purpose of the “Nutrition for 6-9 month old Infants” Activity Sheet is to explain how to properly introduce solid foods to children.
Nutrition During Illness
INGENAES Activity Sheet
Proper nutrition is needed to prevent illness, to re-stablish the balance and to reduce further issues with the condition. The purpose of the “Nutrition during Illness” Activity Sheet is to encourage those who are ill to eat nutritious foods on a daily basis.
Iron Needs for Female Adolescents
INGENAES Activity Sheed
Iron is critical for adolescent (ages 12-19 years) females for their red blood cells and to reduce illness. The purpose of the “Iron Needs for Female Adolescents” activity sheet is to encourage participants to consume iron on a daily basis.
Eating a Variety of Foods
INGENAES Activity Sheet July 2016
A variety of foods from the different food groups need to be consumed on a daily basis to provide the body with energy, protect the body, and to help build the body. The purpose of the “How Different Foods Help” activity sheet is to help families plan to consume a variety of foods on a daily basis.
Integrating Nutrition Into the Curricula of Agriculture Education Institutions: Strengthening Human Capacity to Promote Nutrition-sensitive Agriculture
This document summarizes the online discussion. Integrating nutrition into the curricula of agriculture education institutions: Strengthening human capacity to promote nutrition-sensitive agriculture held on FAO’s Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum) from 10 to 27 November 2015.
Over the three weeks of discussion, 36 contributions were shared by participants from 18 countries. The topic introduction and questions proposed as well as all contributions received are available on the discussion page:
What Role Can Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services Play in Realizing Gender Equality and Improved Nutrition?
This document summarizes the online discussion What role can Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services play in realizing gender equality and improved nutrition? which was held on the FAO Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum) from 19 June to 9 July 2017. The discussion was facilitated by Hajnalka Petrics, Soniia David and Fatima Hachem from FAO, and Edye Kuyper from INGENAES.
In this discussion, participants shared ideas on the role Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (AEAS) should have with regard to broader development. Participants were, in particular, invited to submit examples of AEAS successfully addressing gender inequalities and improved nutrition, but also to discuss the challenges that have impeded them to do so. Furthermore, participants were asked what the role and main activities of a global forum such as the GFRAS Nutrition Working Group should be in helping AEAS to become more gender-sensitive and able to contribute to improved nutrition.