Nutrition

Undernutrition is responsible for nearly half of all deaths in children under five globally – and at least two Billion people suffer from at least one form of malnutrition, including overweight and obesity and micronutrient deficiencies. IDS and partners use multidisciplinary approaches in research, policy and action to understand nutritional inequalities at the overlap of food and health systems. 

Women in Chad with palm oil

IDS brings a critical development perspective to the heart of debates on nutrition

Beyond the tragic loss of life, malnutrition also has hugely detrimental social and economic effects throughout people’s lives; traps people in poverty and transmits it to their children. These deaths and damage result from poor political, policy and programmatic choices and are entirely preventable. IDS takes a critical development perspective to shape and strengthen the response to these challenges.

Thinking about nutrition in relation to wider development challenges

Improving nutrition cannot happen in isolation from efforts to address other development challenges. IDS’ research on nutrition includes work on sensitising livelihoods development, social protection, systems of gender and care, water, sanitation and hygiene and agriculture and food security to the importance of nutrition. 

IDS is part of the partnership Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia, which aims to improve nutrition through understanding of how agriculture and agri-food systems can be better designed. In Bangladesh, IDS led an evaluation of a DFID programme that aims to improve nutrition outcomes by integrating the delivery of community nutrition support with livelihoods and social protection. 

Putting accountable politics at the heart of improving nutrition

Engaging with politics and placing those accountable for decisions at all levels is fundamental to pushing nutrition up the political agenda. IDS focuses on the politics and governance of nutrition by exploring policy processes and commitment towards tackling malnutrition and by developing new forms of community and political engagement via a range of innovative methods.

IDS produces the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index, which ranks governments and donors on their political commitment to tackling hunger and undernutrition. IDS is also part of the Transform Nutrition Consortium, which works to stimulate more effective action to improve nutrition via research on nutrition programming and policy; including via community accountability. 

Combining different approaches to strengthen our understanding of malnutrition

IDS’ nutrition work is underscored by a growing list of major, multi-methods evaluations. Using, developing and teaching innovative and multiple methods to conduct research is vital to our approach and understanding. 

Through leading on evidence mobilisation embedded within an impact evaluation in Nigeria, IDS highlighted many to barriers to women and children in improving nutrition. IDS is also co-leading a mixed methods evaluation to estimate the impact of DFID’s mNutrition programme. 

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Jean Pierre Tranchant is a Research Fellow with the Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Team More details

Jessica Meeker is the Nutrition Convenor, Knowledge Services 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

African Farmer Game

African Farmer is a free, open source game that simulates the complex decisions and uncertainties faced by small-scale farmers living in Sub-Saharan Africa. More details

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA)

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) is a five-year, DFID-funded, research programme consortium which aims to produce new evidence and policy insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in Africa and their differential outcomes for local people and economies. 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

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

Assessing the Impact of Conflict and the Effects of WFP Humanitarian Interventions on Moderate Acute Malnutrition and Other Developmental Outcomes in Mali

This project is a multidisciplinary research partnership involving IFPRI, PCD, IDS and WFP which builds on a unique pre-crises baseline conducted in early 2012 to provide rigorous evidence for policymakers on the effects of humanitarian interventions by WFP on child malnutrition in in Mali. 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

Ethics in the Nutrition Policy Process

The issue of power in food and nutrition governance is under-explored. This research looks at the power of international actors and the (lack of) participation of those experiencing malnutrition in the setting of nutrition policy, as ethical issues. 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

GODAN Action - Enabling practical engagement with open data in agriculture and nutrition

GODAN Action brings together agriculture and nutrition specialists and open data experts and will support GODAN in its mission by building people’s capacity to engage with open data More details

HEART (Health and Education Advice and Resource Team)

HEART is a consortium of leading organisations in international development, health, nutrition, education, social protection and WASH. 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

Integrated Seed Sector Development in Africa (ISSD-Africa)

The goal of ISSD Africa Programme is to support the development of a market-oriented, pluralistic, vibrant and dynamic seed sector in Africa for providing both female and male smallholder farmers access to quality seed of superior varieties. 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

Knowledge Exhange Forum for Nutrition Curricula Development and Adoption in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania

IDS are working to design, develop and maintain an online knowledge exchange forum to facilitate consultation during development of training packages, to increase the nutrition capacity of frontline workers in East Africa. More details

Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility

Researching the impacts of, and responses to, volatile food prices in poor communities in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Vietnam and Zambia. More details

Malnutrition and Poverty Traps in OIC Countries: Evidence and Policy Responses

This projects aims to study the links between malnutrition and poverty and between maternal and child malnutrition in OIC 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

POSHAN Partnerships and Opportunities to Strengthen and Harmonise Actions for Nutrition

POSHAN is a 4-year initiative which aims to build evidence on effective actions for nutrition and support the use of evidence in decision-making. It is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and led by IFPRI in India. More details

Programme Partnership between Irish Aid and IDS on Social Protection and Food Security and Nutrition

The Programme Partnership between Irish Aid and the Institute of Development Studies focuses on social protection and food and nutrition. The collaboration brings together research and capacity development with policy, programmatic and influencing know-how to support action that more effectively reduces poverty and injustice. More details

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This is the front cover to IDS Bulletin 49.1, 'Value Chains for Nutrition in South Asia:
Who Delivers, How, and to Whom?'

Value Chains for Nutrition in South Asia: Who Delivers, How, and to Whom?

IDS Bulletin 49.1 (2018)

There is currently much talk of the private sector role in nutrition, and whether the state can ‘shape’ the market to deliver better nutritional outcomes. This issue of the IDS Bulletin presents research findings in this area, developed by the consortium of research partners under the Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) programme. More details

Non-IDS publication

Co-Design With Aligned And Non-Aligned Knowledge Partners: Implications For Research And Coproduction Of Sustainable Food Systems

We discuss two different strategies to initiate a process of identifying a focused sustainability challenge, and co-defining and co-designing alternative pathways to more sustainable food systems. More details

Returning Home after Civil War: Food Security and Nutrition among Burundian Households

The Journal of Development Studies 54.6 (2018)

This journal article investigates the food security and nutritional status of formerly displaced households in Burundi. More details

Inception Report: External evaluation of mobile phone technology-based nutrition and agriculture advisory services in Africa and South Asia

The GSM Association (GSMA), working with a wide range of mobile network operators and civil society organisations, is launching a series of nutrition-focused m-health and m-agriculture initiatives in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. GSMA refers to nutrition-enhanced initiatives collectively as ‘m-nutrition’. This report summarises the plans for an impact evaluation of two of these nutrition-enhanced initiatives: mHealth in Tanzania and mAgri in Ghana. More details

Using a business model and cost-effectiveness analysis to evaluate mobile phone technology based nutrition and agriculture advisory services in Tanzania and Ghana

This methodological brief focuses on the business model and cost effectiveness analysis component of the mNutrition evaluation and is led by Gamos. More details

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A Strategic Approach to Social Accountability in Pakistan

IDS Working Paper 497 (2017)

This paper explores the progress of the Empowerment, Voice and Accountability for Better Health and Nutrition (EVA) project implemented by Palladium in partnership with the Centre for Communications Programmes Pakistan. More details

Using quantitative methods to evaluate mobile phone technology based nutrition and agriculture advisory services in Ghana

This brief focuses on the quantitative impact evaluation in Ghana, led by IFPRI; a key component of the mNutrition impact evaluation. More details

Using quantitative methods to evaluate mobile phone technology based nutrition and agriculture advisory services in Tanzania

This brief focuses on the quantitative component of the impact evaluation of mNutrition in Tanzania, led by IDS, GAMOS and IFPRI. More details

Why Access to Land is Vital for Sustainable, Healthy and Fair Food Systems: Strategies for Increasing Access to Land for Agroecological Farming

In partnership between the Institute of Development Studies and the Land Workers’ Alliance, research has been undertaken to identify strategies for increasing access to land for agroecological production, in order to contribute to a transition towards sustainable – or even regenerative – food systems in the UK. This briefing summarises these strategies. More details

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From Coherence Towards Commitment: Changes and Challenges in Zambia's Nutrition Policy Environment

Global Food Security 13 (2017)

An enabling environment for malnutrition reduction includes creating policy and political momentum, and converting momentum to implementation and impact. More details

Non-IDS publication

Heirloom rice in Ifugao: an ‘anti-commodity’ in the process of commodification

The Journal of Peasant Studies (2017)

We analyse the marketing of ‘heirloom rices’ produced in the Cordillera mountains of northern Luzon, the Philippines, as the commodification of a historical ‘anti-commodity’ More details

This is the front cover of MAVC research Report Social accountability Initiatives in Health and Nutrition: Lessons from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

Social Accountabilty Initatives in Health and Nutrition: Lessons from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

South Asia is home to nearly a quarter of the world’s population and is a region of dynamic economic growth, yet it performs relatively poorly on health and nutrition indicators. As a potential route towards addressing this poor performance, a range of accountability initiatives has been implemented to improve service delivery in the health and nutrition sectors. More details

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A Narrative Analysis of the Political Economy Shaping Policy on Child Undernutrition in India

Development and Change 48.2 (2017)

This article examines two narratives on the subject of child undernutrition in India espoused by competing sides of the policy elite. It argues that undertaking narrative policy analysis in a structured fashion helps to elucidate a clearer sense of the underlying positions within this important area of development discourse. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Assessing Food Value Chain Pathways, Linkages and Impacts for Better Nutrition of Vulnerable Groups

Food Policy 68 (2017)

This article offers insights into assessing the effectiveness of post farm-gate agri-food value chains at improving the nutrition intake of vulnerable groups. It develops a conceptual framework integrating the value chain concepts with agriculture and nutrition, and identifies key outcomes and requirements for value chains to be successful at delivering substantive and sustained consumption of nutrient-dense foods by poor households. More details

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What are the Challenges and Opportunities for Multi-level Advocacy for Nutrition?

IDS Policy Briefing 129 (2017)

Over the last decade, policy advocacy has made critical contributions towards the development of nutrition policies, laws and strategies in many countries with high burdens of malnutrition. More details

What Can Promote Access to Land for Agroecological Farming in the UK? Findings from Participatory Research and Deliberation as part of the Transitions to Agroecological Food Systems Project

Access to land has long been a key barrier to new entrants to farming and has become more difficult in the last decade or so. In order to address these land access challenges, the panel discussed the potentials of both (a) working within the existing system (i.e. navigating existing policies, regulations and institutions), and (b) working to change the system (i.e. revising or introducing new policies, regulations and institutions). More details

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