USAID Advancing Nutrition aims to generate global learning, evidence, and innovative practices on how to improve women’s diets, with a focus on pregnant and lactating women (PLW), to inform the design and implementation of nutrition programs and interventions. To do this, the project developed a learning agenda on women’s diets to guide work planning and synthesis of evidence and learning on women’s diets across its multi-sectoral portfolio.
The agenda was developed from the strategic maternal, infant, and young child nutrition (MIYCN) planning document developed in collaboration with USAID. The MICYN strategy identified that though women’s inadequate diets and many of the challenges that contribute to them are well documented, there is a lack of programmatic evidence on how to improve women’s diets, especially during pregnancy and lactation. Even where there is evidence, data on program and service quality is not strong enough to demonstrate impact or effectiveness. Policymakers and program planners and managers need more information to determine a minimum effective package for optimizing maternal nutrition and effective strategies to implement it.
Through a collaborative and iterative process with USAID technical teams and USAID, USAID Advancing Nutrition designed the women’s diets learning agenda to help fill these evidence gaps. Five key areas of inquiry and learning questions under each area were identified:
- Improving women’s diets through improved food market environments
- Improving women’s diets through demand creation
- Improving PLW’s diets through improved family diets
- Improving PLW’s diets through counseling and other health service delivery
- Improving PLW’s diets through improved policies and policy implementation