Malnutrition and undernutrition can be drastically reduced through food-based nutrition improvement programmes. Nutrition improvement interventions work to address both the immediate causes of malnutrition as well as their underlying factors.
There is an increasing recognition of the need to engage target communities in nutrition improvement programmes planning and implementation. Top-down programme formulation can often leads to “quick fix” welfare interventions which do not address the basic causes of food and nutrition insecurity. Successful nutrition improvement programmes involve community-based strategies with a participatory approaches to foster programme ownership and sustainability.
The key role of assessment
The purpose of assessing nutrition improvement programmes is to understand what works, what does not work, why and how such programmes can be strengthened and, where appropriate, redesigned. FAO has been developing a comprehensive assessment tool, based on lessons learnt from case studies, which allows countries to undertake in-depth analysis of their own community based food and nutrition programmes.