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Research and lessons learned

Impact Assessment

Few studies have documented the impact of promoting locally available foods on children’s dietary intake, micronutrient status and growth. Even fewer have looked at the impact of combining targeted food security actions, aimed at increasing the production and availability of nutrient dense foods, with nutrition education and behaviour change interventions.

The IFSN and MALIS projects in Malawi and Cambodia were studied in the course of a five-year research project entitled “Improving dietary intakes and nutritional status through improved food security and complementary feeding counselling” (IMCF) from 2010 to 2015.  The project’s aim was to assess at community level the impact on young children’s diets and nutritional status of linking agriculture and nutrition education.  The research was conducted, on behalf of FAO, by the Institute of Nutritional Science, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany in collaboration with Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Malawi and Mahidol University, Thailand, which supported the research in Cambodia. The IMCF project was funded by the Federal German Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Dissemination of the research and lessons learned

FAO conducted dissemination meetings in Malawi and Cambodia in February and March 2015 respectively, to share and discuss with government and development partners the preliminary research results and the lessons learned from the IFSN and MALIS project process reviews. The lessons and insights gathered at the national dissemination meetings fed into an international Technical Meeting on “Linking Agriculture and Nutrition Education for Improved Young Child Feeding” held at FAO headquarters in Rome in 2015. 

Nutrition researchers and practitioners from Africa and Asia met to share data and experiences in designing and implementing integrated agriculture-nutrition education interventions. They also identified good practices and lessons learned which are summarised in: "Integrating agriculture and nutrition education for improved young child nutrition: Programme lessons"

The Programme Lessons provide guidance on how to design and implement integrated agriculture-nutrition education interventions. 

We hope that future programmes can build on the lessons and insights summarised in the Programme Lessons to help build the capacity of governments and development partners to design and implement high quality preventive food and nutrition interventions that have a lasting impact on families’ and children’s diets.

IYCF in Cambodia

IYCF in Malawi