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Maternal nutrition in emergencies

Current evidence underlines the importance of the nutritional status of women as a crucial factor in the survival, healthy growth and development of her children. Although it is the subject of less global attention, maternal nutrition is also crucial for women’s own ability to live a healthy life.

The EC demonstrated its strong commitment to 'enhance maternal and child nutrition in external assistance' by adopting a nutrition policy in March 2013. Specifically in the humanitarian context, the Commission’s support is aimed at treating, preventing and alleviating maternal and child undernutrition, to reduce or avoid excess mortality and morbidity, in emergencies. For maternal nutrition in emergencies, the DG ECHO is concerned that there are a number of gaps at policy and practice levels and limited guidance is available, in order to efficiently and effectively address the needs for maternal nutrition.

A one-day technical roundtable on “Maternal Nutrition in Emergencies” was held in Brussels in November 2013, convened by DG ECHO. The meeting brought together key DG ECHO technical staff and partners, agency nutrition focal points, donors and technical experts. The aim of the round table was to discuss the evidence, current practice and issues related to maternal nutrition in emergencies and to suggest priority actions and initiatives required to address these gaps and challenges.

We would like to share with you the report of this event, prepared and facilitated by Emily Mates and Tanya Khara (ENN), composed of 2 parts. (1) The technical background paper, identified a number of gaps in the area of maternal nutrition in emergencies and formed the basis for discussions at the technical roundtable meeting. The review summarised the available literature relating to: women’s particular nutritional vulnerabilities, what the implications of these are for women and their infants, current international guidance on maternal nutrition and what is currently being done in emergency programming. A series of key gaps were highlighted as a result. (2) The meeting report provides an overview of the discussions held at the roundtable of the main issues, gaps and recommendations.

Key recommendations have been made during the technical roundtable, which will require follow-up. We would like to raise some of the issues and recommendations in future events and meetings, and will appreciate the support of our partners in carrying this issue forward.

Catherine Chazaly

DG ECHO Policy Officer – Nutrition

28.01.2014
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Summary of the Online Discussion on Rights-based Approaches to Food Security in Protracted Crises

From 22 October 2013 to 20 November 2013, the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum) hosted the fourth e-discussion of the Community of Practice on Food Insecurity on Protracted Crises. This e-discussion focused on “rights-based approaches to food security in protracted crises,” soliciting the participation of the worldwide FSN Forum community of experts and practitioners. The outcomes will feed into the drafting process of an Agenda for Action for Addressing Food Insecurity in Protracted Crises.

16.01.2014
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A Vegetable Garden for All

A practical guide for setting up family gardens for the production of nutritious, safe food crops, that would contribute to the diets of populations affected by food insecurity

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Analysing nutrition governance in fragile contexts: lessons and implications

This Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition Programme (MQSUN) Briefing describes lessons learnt and implications from a MQSUN assignment which main objective was to analyze the research and policy challenges for improving nutrition governance in a context of state fragility.

Efforts to strengthen government commitment to reduce under nutrition in Fragile and Conflict Affected States (FCAS) face a number of context specific challenges:

  • First, most nutrition investments tend to adopt short-term humanitarian approaches to tackle food and hunger crises.
  • Secondly, FCAS usually lack the capacity to design and implement their own nutrition strategies, thus reinforcing their dependency on the policy advice, technical training and funding from the donor community.
  • Thirdly, there are very weak or nonexistent accountability linkages between the state and society in FCAS, so that citizens lack the means to hold their governments to account and political elites lack the incentives to respond to citizens’ demands.

This briefing offers practical recommendations and policy advice to address nutrition governance challenges in a context of fragility.

18.12.2013

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Nutrition Commitment Audit for Nigeria

This Operational Research and Impact Evaluation (ORIE) Research summary highlights key findings from a Nutrition Commitment Audit (NCA) designed and applied in Nigeria in 2012 in order to examine national and sub-national level factors influencing the country’s commitment to addressing undernutrition.

28.10.2013
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Nutritional status in northern Nigeria, prevalence and determinants: a review of evidence

This ORIE Research Summary outlines the approach, key findings and conclusions of a review of literature on the prevalence and determinants of child and maternal undernutrition in northern Nigeria, and direct and indirect interventions to tackle undernutrition, globally and in Nigeria, undertaken in 2012.

The aims of the evidence review were to: assess gaps in knowledge; support the design of the WINNN and ORIE programmes; review interventions to address undernutrition in Nigeria and globally; and inform DFID on possible pilots to tackle underlying determinants of childhood stunting in northern Nigeria.

28.10.2013

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A stakeholder map for nutrition policy and programming in northern Nigeria

This Operational Research and Impact Evaluation (ORIE) Research Summary highlights key findings from a stakeholder mapping carried out to increase understanding of nutrition context, policy and programming in northern Nigeria; map organisations, systems and practices for nutrition knowledge sharing; understand information needs, barriers and opportunities amongst audiences; and inform strategies for research evidence dissemination.

 

28.10.2013
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Action on under-nutrition in Pakistan: opportunities and barriers

This Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition Programme (MQSUN) Briefing is based on the study The Political Economy of Under-Nutrition in Pakistan. It highlights challenges faced for mainstreaming nutrition as an inter-sectoral development priority and provides strategic recommendations using Acosta and Fanzo’s nutrition governance framework.

28.10.2013
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FAO in the Caribbean

A overview on FAO's work in the Caribbean region

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A million voices: the world we want

This report by the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) collects the perspectives on the 'world we want' from over 1 million people around the globe. For almost one year, people have engaged energetically in 88 national consultations, 11 thematic dialogues, and through the MY World global survey. As member states consult on the shape and content of a successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) beyond 2015, it is hoped that the opportunity to listen to these voices will contribute to reaching consensus on what is needed to move towards a common sustainable future.

12.09.2013