USAID Advancing Nutrition is working with two USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) implementing partners in Cameroon and South Sudan to gather information about the effectiveness of nutrition-sensitive agriculture activities in improving nutrition outcomes. This effort will contribute to understanding the factors that influence these outcomes and enhance the evidence base for programming in these contexts. In particular, these activities focus on home gardens for vegetable production, which are intended to support both consumption and sale.
The evidence of agriculture interventions for nutrition outcomes is considered weak because of limited data and association between the two. One of our goals is to better understand where evidence gaps exist for effective nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions and practices in emergency response and recovery programming of 6-18 months duration.
To achieve this, USAID Advancing Nutrition is working with the Emergency Response to Food Insecurity for Lake Chad Basin activity, implemented by Premiere Urgence International (PUI), which targets crisis-affected populations in the Far North Region of Cameroon, and the Emergency Livelihood Response Programme in South Sudan, led by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This effort explores how nutrition-sensitive agriculture activities in these protracted crisis contexts contribute to nutrition outcomes by:
- Gathering and analyzing the latest evidence and experience
- Identifying key factors for nutrition-sensitive agriculture emergency activity design and intervention selection
- Analyzing the effectiveness of selected interventions through operations research
USAID Advancing Nutrition is analyzing the resulting data and drafting a research report that focuses on factors influencing targeted populations to produce, market, purchase, and consume locally grown foods (in particular vegetables and cereals) in an effort to capture dietary diversity among women of reproductive age (18-49 years) and children (6-23 months). Some of the key factors influencing this could include humanitarian interventions, agricultural inputs and household assets, agriculture production and nutrition related training, household demographic circumstances, as well as social care environment factors (e.g. shocks, stressors, mental health, social support networks, etc.).
The recommendations for program design and implementation to be derived from this study will help to inform BHA’s future emergency guidance and will ultimately improve agriculture programming in protracted crises contexts, including where nutrition is either a primary or secondary purpose in emergency response design and planning.