Linking nutrition to social protection

Linking nutrition to social protection

22/09/2015

FAO in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS), the Ministry of Social Development (MoS) and UNICEF facilitated training on nutrition, home gardening and social protection to 72 Nutrition Officers from the 10 districts of Lesotho and five Community Council Representatives.

“The impact of social protection interventions on nutrition often also depends on nutrition education”, says Mr Yves Klompenhouwer, FAO Representative in Lesotho. “It is necessary to strengthen the link between agricultural development programmes and social protection programmes to improve vulnerable households' nutrition and food security. Only thus can we help ensure that children are adequately fed for healthy and active lives and can their families hope to escape poverty”, explains Mr Klompenhouwer.

In a two-day event, participants were familiarised with agricultural techniques aiming at increasing food production at the homestead and how to achieve healthy eating habits and improved food preservation techniques. This is based on new visual training materials on home gardening and nutrition developed by the Government with FAO support and contributions from a diverse range of food security sector stakeholders.

Moreover, nutrition officers were familiarized with social protection concepts and with the mainstreaming of social protection in their daily activities enhancing complementarities between these two sectors of activity.

“Social protection contributes to improving nutrition outcomes by improving the quantity and quality of food consumption, leading to increased dietary diversity. Social protection is an important component of integrated approaches to address the multiple determinants of malnutrition”, says Mr Benjamin Davis, FAO Senior Economist, Team Leader of the project “From Production to Protection (PtoP)”.

Lesotho is one of the six pilot countries in which the PtoP project has been implemented since 2012, aiming at evaluating the impact of cash transfers and agricultural complementarities. The training held in August 2015 was funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).