Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all deaths in children under five globally. Beyond the tragic loss of life, malnutrition also has hugely detrimental social and economic effects and thwarts efforts to reduce poverty. These deaths and damage are preventable. The world can put an end to the nutrition crisis by 2020, but it needs to make sustained funding for nutrition programmes a priority in order to provide the $10 billion a year required.

Women in Chad with palm oil

Until recently malnutrition was a neglected issue. However, it has recently begun to rise up the global political agenda. IDS has been working with partners worldwide such as the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Public Health Foundation of India, the University of Nairobi, Save the Children, Action Against Hunger, Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) to ensure that the momentum and political will to put an end to malnutrition is sustained.

IDS brings the critical perspectives of development to the heart of contemporary debates on nutrition by drawing on our research in poverty, governance, food insecurity, agriculture, value chains, health, gender, climate change, conflict and fragile contexts.

Our research, evaluation and knowledge mobilisation activities generate and communicate evidence for how to accelerate and scale up direct and indirect nutrition interventions. We focus on building the wider political and financial enabling environment necessary to create and sustain momentum for tackling malnutrition, in order to help people around the world achieve better nutrition.

This enabling environment forms an overarching frame for our work and comprises three interrelated themes that are critical for reducing malnutrition:

  • Building political commitment: How do we move nutrition higher up the development agenda in both national and international contexts? How do we sustain this commitment over time? What is the role of civil society and social movements?
  • Mobilising resources for malnutrition reduction: How do we build and sustain the financial, human and systemic resources required to tackle malnutrition globally, including leveraging new forms of resources? What types of institutional investments and capacity building activities yield the best systemic and strategic capacity for nutrition within national and subnational actors?
  • Framing, generating and communicating knowledge and evidence: How do we shine a spotlight and generate attention for nutrition in different contexts? How do we stimulate greater demand and capacity for evidence, and how do we get this evidence into use to create a real and lasting impact? What types of evaluations and operations research are most useful at different stages of nutrition investments programmes?
Photo of Becky Mitchell More details

Photo of Cathérine Müller, Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction research team More details

Photo of Dolf te Lintelo More details

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Jessica Meeker is the Nutrition Convenor, Knowledge Services More details

Photo of Karine Gatellier, Health Convenor in IDS Knowledge Services More details

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Photo of Leah Plati, Administrator, Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Team More details

Photo of Nick Nisbett, IDS Research Fellow in the Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction team More details

Rajith Lakshman photo More details

Photo of Richard Longhurst, a Research Associate More details

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photo of Shilpi Srivastava More details

Photo of Spencer Henson, Globalisation Research Fellow More details

Photo of Stephen Devereux, IDS Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Research Fellow More details

Photo of Tanvir Ahmed, IDS PhD student More details

Tom Barker is the Senior Nutrition Convenor, Knowledge Services Team More details

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Accelerating Progress in Reducing Hunger and Undernutrition

This programme will focus on how agriculture can deliver better nutrition outcomes by developing evidence-based policy options and tools for businesses, governments, NGOs and donors. More details

AFSPAN (Aquaculture for Food Security, Poverty Alleviation and Nutrition)

Aquaculture is widely considered as important for enhancing food security, alleviating poverty and improving nutrition. However, little information is available concerning the direct and indirect impacts of aquaculture on food security and poverty alleviation in most developing countries and LIFDCs. More details


AgriDiet is an Irish Aid funded research programme consortium, led by University College Cork in Ireland. The overall goal of the programme is to contribute to poverty reduction through the identification of policies and interventions that can make a positive impact on the nutritional status of vulnerable rural households. More details


AgriDiet is an Irish Aid funded research programme consortium, led by University College Cork in Ireland. The overall goal of the programme is to contribute to poverty reduction through the identification of policies and interventions that can make a positive impact on the nutritional status of vulnerable rural households. This will be achieved through a multi-faceted programme of policy analysis, field research, training, information dissemination and stakeholder engagement. More details

Aid for Nutrition - How Much is Being Invested?

This project, funded by Action Against Hunger (AAH) includes a literature review of effectiveness of current nutrition spending, with a focus on which activities (and composition of activities) are required to meet 2015 targets and how these are currently defined by different donors. More details

AllAfrica and IDS development reporting initiative

IDS and AllAfrica have teamed up to produce and distribute compelling multi-media content on critical issues for Africa’s future, as part of a development reporting initiative. More details

Analysing Nutrition Governance

The project examines what factors enable governments to commit to national nutrition strategies and deliver appropriate nutrition policies in the long run. More details

Analysis of Maharashtra’s Decline in Childhood Stunting

UNICEF and IDS are collaborating to undertake an in-depth analysis of the factors that may have led to the 16% decline in child stunting in Maharashtra evidenced in surveys covering the period 2006-2012. More details

CIFF - Nutrition Advocacy Consortium

In partnership with Results for Development and Results ACTION Partnership, the Institute of Development Studies is part of a consortium that aims to build accountability, strengthen policy and foster leadership in nutrition. More details

Evidence Matters - a briefing series providing syntheses of impact evaluation

Evidence Matters is a policy brief based on one or more systematic reviews on international development. More details

External evaluation of mobile phone technology based nutrition and agriculture advisory services in Africa and South Asia (mNutrition)

mNutrition is a global initiative supported by DFID, organised by GSMA, and implemented by in-country Mobile Network Operators to use mobile technology to raise the health and nutritional status of children and adults in the developing world. More details

HEART (Health and Education Advice and Resource Team)

HEART is a consortium of leading organisations in international development, health, nutrition and education. IDS works together with these organisations to support the use of evidence and expert advice in policymaking. More details

Home Grown School Feeding Mali

This study aims to evaluate the impact of school feeding programmes sourced from small-holder farmers on small-holder food security, as well as on school children's education, health and nutrition in Mali. More details

Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index - HANCI

HANCI measures and ranks governments’ political commitment to reduce hunger and undernutrition on an annual basis. More details

International and National Responses to Hunger Guided by Better Quality Metrics

The project aims to assess when, where, how amd why mobile phone technology might enable more effective and credible real-time monitoring of nutrition More details

Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility

Researching the impacts of, and responses to, volatile food prices in poor communities in ten developing countries. More details

Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition Programmes Framework (MQSUN)

MQSUN aims to provide DFID with technical services to improve the quality of nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive programmes. Services will be provided on a call down basis to DFID country offices over a period of four years. More details

Operational Research and Impact Evaluation (ORIE) Northern Nigeria

One million children under five die every year in Nigeria, 35% of them due to causes attributed to malnutrition. This makes Nigeria one of the six countries that accounts for half of all child deaths from malnutrition worldwide. In the north of Nigeria, half of all children under five are stunted, and one in five suffers from acute malnutrition. More details

Participatory vulnerability assessment and climate adaptation planning for food security and nutrition in East Africa

In collaboration with Bioversity International, the Climate Change Team at IDS is designing a participatory vulnerability analysis toolkit. The work builds upon a toolkit that IDS created for Mexico’s National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP), in work funded by GIZ (documentation currently in Spanish only). It will be field-tested in Tanzania in September 2013. More details

Partnering for Better Food

This project aims to identify and support scalable public-private innovative partnerships in developing countries that bridge the gaps between agriculture and nutrition programmes to improve nutrition for the poor and undernourished. More details

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Using evidence to transform nutrition

21 Jul 2016
By Ciara Gillespie

Stories of change in nutrition

30 Jun 2016
By Samantha Reddin

Can the private sector tackle undernutrition?

15 Jun 2016
By Katherine Pittore

Mobile phones vs the food basket in Guatemala

12 Apr 2016
By Alma Lucrecia Olivet Lopez

Los sabores que cambian la vida

14 Mar 2016
By Rosario Léon
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