Capacity building for nutrition education

Nutrition Education in Bangladesh

Title:  Integrated Horticulture and Nutrition Development

Country: Bangladesh

Duration: 2000 - 2006

Responsible Ministries/institutions/partnerships, including UN: Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Ministry of Agriculture


The FAO-UNDP–GoB Integrated Horticulture and Nutrition Development Project promoted horticulture based strategies for achieving nutrition security and diversified food habits of rural farmers through promoting  consumption of horticultural crops as a sustainable solution  to the problem of micronutrient malnutrition.


Improve the nutritional status of the population (specifically targeting the poor women farmers of Bangladesh).

  • Create an environment in which households have sufficient access to fruits and vegetables at affordable prices
  • Impart the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare and consume these foods to complement their diet.

 Critical problem sidentified and addressed by the project:

  • To conduct a campaign to educate the masses in the use of foods. Ignorance of the value of health-giving foods which provide the basic nutrition needs was common to all income groups. 
  • Mass communication approaches, nutrition communication and individual counselling were used to educate people. 
  • Food-based strategies and nutrition awareness programs in schools and at community level to promote the increased consumption of vegetables, fruits and spices may offer the best solution.

Project Outcomes

Main beneficiaries:

  • Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE),
  • Ministry of Agriculture
  • poor women farmers
  • school teachers
  • school children

Main project participants/institutions involved:

  • Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE),
  • Ministry of Agriculture;
  • poor women farmers
  • school teachers
  • school children

Main activities completed:

  • Mass communication approaches, nutrition communication and individual counselling were used to educate people. 
  • Food-based strategies and nutrition awareness programs in schools and at community level to promote the increased consumption of vegetables, fruits and spices.
  • Food-based nutrition demonstrations. A food-based nutrition approach was used to create nutrition awareness and enhance consumption of nutritionally rich fruits, vegetables and spices.  Emphasis made to promote dietary variety, to improve the nutritional quality of diet and to increase knowledge and education on nutrition;
  • Training of trainers. Participatory nutrition education for the stakeholders, demonstrations on various nutritious recipes using seasonal vegetables and fruits and preparation of complementary feed.
  • Development of advocacy materials
  • Establishment of homestead nutrition garden and school nutrition garden etc. in order to improve the nutritional security of the project beneficiary.
  • Development of recipes using seasonal vegetables and fruits.
  • School nutrition education.
    • Created nutrition awareness among high school students.
    • Promote consumption of a variety of micronutrient-rich horticulture-based foods in the daily diet.
    • 30 schools, 1800 students participated in the programme,
    • 30 gardens established on school premises to make the students involved with production linked with consumption.

Main results:

  • Advocacy materials prepared and disseminated to the beneficiaries was found to be very useful for transferring and adopting the technologies properly. These will remain as reference materials for the extension service providers and group farmers. Bill-boards have created awareness for the villagers and also for passers by for several years to come.
  • School nutrition education: among the students 73% have taken vegetables daily which are significant in terms of the quantity indeed. 88% of the students who prepared the project promoted foods in their home which they have learned from the school nutrition education programme. Most of the students are now bringing food to the schools which have improved their health and learning ability.
  • As a result of diversified interventions of the project, households consumed more fruits and vegetables than their neighbours.
  • Children's knowledge of nutrition has increased in the project schools due to participatory nutrition education programme encompassing classroom discussion, food preparation demonstration and school nutrition garden. Over ¾ of the children  take leafy vegetables at least every other day while around ½ of the children take fruits between 2-3 times /week.
  • Participatory nutrition education in the community played an important role in improving household nutrition security through more production and consumption of vegetables. Vegetable production at household level increased. Food preparation technologies transferred to women through demonstrations encouraged them to prepare new nutritious food in the household resulting in more consumption.

Project strengths/successes:

  • The NGO linkages and collaboration helped the project reach more farmers in the area who have the organizational and financial capability to undertake intensive horticulture enterprises.  In Bangladesh,  Micro-credit has played a great role in poverty alleviation and women empowerment.
  • The linkages with local NGOs with DAE and also with farmers' groups have created opportunity for the group farmers to have access to resources, particularly micro credit for undertaking IGA activities.
  • NGOs are now linked with extension service providers which will greatly help NGO beneficiaries have access to technology.

Project weaknesses/constraints:

  • Vacant positions at some stages of the project

Longer term sustainability:

Gender aspects:

  • The project has mainly targeted the rural poor and disadvantaged women farmers.
  • It was mandatory that at least 50 percent of the groups were female, for training purposes more than 75 percent were women and some training courses were earmarked exclusively for women to ensure their active participation.  I
  • Project activities on food processing and nutrition education were designed entirely for women. 
  • The school nutrition programme of the project targeted adolescent girls enrolled in grades eight and nine.  The activities and services provided by the project for improvement of skills and awareness created the opportunity for the rural poor women to produce horticultural crops in a semi-commercial way, the nurseries, establishment of vegetable gardens for year-round availability of fruits and vegetables for the family, home scale food processing for their food and livelihood security, and above all working in a team to achieve their goal of improvement of their lives through resource generation and management.


The following were also brought under the network of the project to provide service to the farmers of  wider area:

  • BRAC
  • ASA
  • Proshika
  • World Vision
  • local level NGOs  namely ,IDF,
  • Green Hill,
  • CODEC,
  • Nari Uddyog Kendra (NUK),
  • Community Development Association (CDA)
  • USHA,
  • Prayash, Trinamul,
  • Uddyam Dustha Shishu Paribar,
  • Samaj Pragati Sangstha,
  • Dusthya Mahila Samity GSKS,
  • Trinamul, Barendra Advancement Integrated Committee (BAIC )
  • Chetan Manabik Unnoyan Shangstha ,
  • Laster Gram Unnoyan Sangstha, Rulfao,
  • IDE PCD,
  • Nijpath,
  • New Era Foundation (NEF),
  • Padma Samaj Unnayan Sangstha (PSUS)
  • Manab Unnoyan Kendra (MUK),
  • Fight Against Poverty (FAP),
  • Save the Planet (STP),
  • Village Development Centre (VDC),
  • Shamajik Unnayan Sangstha,
  • Manab Unnayan Sangstha,
  • Jubo Unnayan Kendra,
  • Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (SPHR),
  • Rural Reconstruction Centre (RRC),
  • Christian Social Service (CSS)
  • Rupsha Kallyan Sangstha, (RKS),
  • Mukti Samaj Kallyan Sangstha (MSKS),
  • Voluntary Paribar Kallyan Association (VPKA),
  • Karmajibi Kallyan Sangstha (KKS),
  • Mohila Mission (MOMI),
  • Manab Sheba Association (MSS)

Direct or indirect linkages were also established with government organizations like:

  • Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institutes (BARI),
  • Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC),
  • Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU),
  • Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU),
  • Bangladesh Applied Nutrition and Human Resources Development Board (BAN-HRDB) at the local and project level.


last updated:  Friday, January 8, 2016