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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Photo of Annie Lowden More details

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

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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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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

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Photo of Richard Longhurst, a Research Associate 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

AgriDiet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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IDS publications on international development research

Equate and Conflate: Political Commitment to Hunger and Undernutrition Reduction in Five High-Burden Countries

World Development 76 (2015)

As political commitment is an essential ingredient for elevating food and nutrition security onto policy agendas, commitment metrics have proliferated. Many conflate government commitment to fight hunger with combating undernutrition. More details

IDS Evidence Report 141 Front cover

Food, Markets and Nutrition: Maximising the Impacts of Private Sector Engagement in Tanzania. Case Studies and Key Messages from the Workshop

IDS Evidence Report 141 (2015)

This report summarises the findings of a workshop for representatives of the Tanzanian government, development partners, civil society and private sector organisations, hosted by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) on 30 March 2015. More details

This is the cover to IDS Working Paper 458, 'A Common Sense Approach to the Right to Food'.

A Common Sense Approach to the Right to Food

IDS Working Paper 458 (2015)

Despite the growing activism and debate around the right to food in the past decade, there has been little exploration of what the right means in everyday life and in the routine encounters between states and citizens. More details

IDS publications on international development research

WINNN and ORIE: Working to Improve Nutrition in Northern Nigeria

This two page briefing provides an overview of the work of the DFID-funded Working to Improve Nutrition in Northern Nigeria programme, which is seeking to improve the nutritional status of over 6 million children across five northern states, and its independent Operations Research and Impact Evaluation component. More details

Evidence Report 138 Front Cover

Unravelling Commitment? An Empirical Assessment of Political Commitment to Reduce Hunger and Undernutrition in Five High Burden Countries

IDS Evidence Report 138 (2015)

In recent years, the global hunger and nutrition community has increasingly come to view political commitment as an essential ingredient for pushing food and nutrition security higher up public policy agendas. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Accountability for International Nutrition Commitment Initiatives

This paper draws on secondary data to map out a proliferating set of international nutrition commitment initiatives, and assesses how these employ accountability mechanisms to support the delivery of financial and other commitments. More details

This is the cover to Food, Markets and Nutrition: Maximizing the Impacts of Private Sector Engagement in Tanzania.

Food, Markets and Nutrition: Maximizing the Impacts of Private Sector Engagement in Tanzania

This report summarizes the findings of a workshop for representatives of Tanzanian government, development partners, civil society and private sector organisations, hosted by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) on 30 March 2015. More details

ER127_FrontCover

Promoting Biofortified Crops for Nutrition: Lessons from Orange-fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) in Tanzania

IDS Evidence Report 127 (2015)

This case study examines the outcomes of interventions in Tanzania that have promoted the production and consumption of orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) – a biofortified crop – with the objective of reducing vitamin A deficiencies. More details

ER127_FrontCover

Promoting Biofortified Crops for Nutrition: Lessons from Orange-fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) in Tanzania

IDS Evidence Report 127 (2015)

This case study examines the outcomes of interventions in Tanzania that have promoted the production and consumption of orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) – a biofortified crop – with the objective of reducing vitamin A deficiencies. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Integrated Quantitative-Qualitative Analysis for Guatemala: Ensuring Food and Nutrition Security in a Time of Volatility

Overall, the analyses aim to explore the impacts of food price volatility on poverty, well being, and food security. The global food crisis from 2007-08 serves as cut off point for exploring the households’ situation before and after well known food price changes. More details

Non-IDS publication

Markets for Nutrition

LANSA Policy Brief 2 (2015)

Making safe, nutrient-rich foods more accessible for people on low-incomes is one way to reduce micronutrient undernutrition. Efforts to integrate better agriculture and nutrition are focused on this goal, and many initiatives target low-income farm households. More details

PB89_FrontCover

Better Nutrition for the Poor through Informal Markets

IDS Policy Briefing 89 (2015)

In the fight against undernutrition, policymakers are seeking to use markets to increase access to nutrient-rich foods. Yet ensuring food reaches those most affected by undernutrition requires shaping the markets and businesses from which they source food. More details

This is the front cover for IDS Policy Briefing 85.

Investing in the Future: Reforming Public Policy to End Undernutrition in India

IDS Policy Briefing 85 (2015)

Despite substantial economic growth, India still has one of the highest undernutrition rates in the world. Because of its large population, India is home to almost 40 per cent of the world’s stunted children. To date extensive public policy initiatives such as the Integrated Child Development Services and the Public Distribution System together with the considerable improvements in their implemen More details

IDS publications on international development research

La Vie en Temps de Volatilite du Prix des Produits Alimentaires: Évolution des Habitudes Alimentaires: Points de vue sur les Aliments Transformés et Les Aliments Dangereux

Le projet de recherche sur la sécurité alimentaire en temps de volatilité des prix mené par le Département socio-économie et anthropologie du développement (DSEAD) de l’Institut des Sciences des Sociétés avec le Financement de l’ONG Oxfam et en partenariat scientifique avec Institute of Development Studies (IDS) vise à décrire et analyser les conditions de vie en temps de volatilité des prix des aliments. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Bangladesh: Year 3 Findings from the Life in a Time Of Food Price Volatility Study

In 2014, Bangladesh has been placed at the 142nd position among 187 countries on UNDP Human Development Index, progressing upwards by one place from 2013. Bangladesh has also been placed among 18 countries making the fastest progress in human development for year 2014 by the UN (UNDP Human Development Index, 2014). According to the International Food Policy Research Institute’s report, Bangladesh is among the countries that “saw the largest improvements” in Global Hunger Index 2014 (Prothom Alo, Oct 13, 2014). More details

ER102 Front Cover

Process Tracing: The Potential and Pitfalls for Impact Evaluation in International Development. Summary of a Workshop held on 7 May 2014

IDS Evidence Report 102 (2014)

In international development there is increasing pressure to demonstrate that aid spending is making a difference. In short, that it is having an ‘impact’. More details

ER99 Front Cover

The HANCI Donor Index 2013: Measuring Donors’ Political Commitment to Reduce Hunger and Undernutrition in Developing Countries

IDS Evidence Report 99 (2014)

This report presents the Hunger And Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI) 2013 for donor countries. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Illustrating the Rise in Food Prices in Zambia: Household Expenditure Shares and Price Indexes, 2006 and 2010

Food consumption and subsequently household welfare are sensitive to changes in food prices. This is especially so among poorer households who can spend up to three quarters of their income on food (Cranfield, Preckel, & Hertel, 2007). More details

This is the cover to IDS Working Paper 450, 'Reframing Undernutrition: Faecally-Transmitted Infections and the 5 As'.

Reframing Undernutrition: Faecally-Transmitted Infections and the 5 As

IDS Working Paper 450 (2014)

The dominant nutrition discourse concerns access to adequate food and its quality. It now includes food security, food rights and justice, governance and agriculture. More details

IDS publications on international development research

"The Constitution Lies To Us": Securing Accountability for the Right to Food in Kenya

Food Riots and Food Rights project report (2014)

Factors rooted in Kenya’s history and political economy have dampened citizen expectations of the state, thwarted popular mobilisation and generated weak state responses. This raises a question of responsibility. In this paper, we explore the failure and efforts to overcome them, before considering how accountability for hunger can be made the norm. More details

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