Analysing Nutrition Governance

The insidious burden of undernutrition afflicts 180 million children worldwide and has devastating lifelong consequences. One of the underlying causes of undernutrition is the lack of sustained government commitment.

Today, it is critical that we understand how governance works to improve nutrition outcomes in the developing world, and how nutritionists, development actors, donors, civil society and the private sector can support government officials in sustaining political commitments over the long run.

Analysing Nutrition Governance uses a political economy approach to examine the motivations of nutrition stakeholders, the institutional and organisational structures in which they operate and their capacity to mobilise resources. The study compareds government nutrition strategies in six countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Peru and Zambia.

The project examines what factors enable governments to commit to national nutrition strategies and deliver appropriate policies in the long run. It identifies knowledge gaps and examined which institutional arrangements and political dynamics best support nutrition efforts. The project contributes to DFID's effort to help government officials and decision makers in partner countries to effectively tackle maternal and child undernutrition.

Dissemination and research products

  1. Synthesis Report Fighting Maternal and Child Malnutrition: Analysing the political and institutional determinants of delivering a national multi-sectoral response in six countries’
  2. Reports on 6 country case studies: Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Peru, Zambia
  3. Meeting of nutrition experts and officials from eight countries where domestic country policy makers and the donor community shared learning based on the research results
  4. Policy briefing examining how members of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement and government officials can deliver effective governance of nutrition programmes

Research team

  • Lawrence Haddad: Lawrence Haddad is the Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex. He is an economist and was formerly Director of the International Food Policy Research Institute's Food Consumption and Nutrition Division.
  • Andres Mejia Acosta (Team leader and contact person): Research Fellow and political scientist at IDS whose current research looks at how the political management of natural resource revenues affects development goals. Publications include articles and book chapters on electoral systems, political parties, legislative politics, budget politics, the policymaking process, informal institutions, and democratic governance. 
  • Jessica Fanzo: Jessica Fanzo is the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for UN REACH at World Food Programme in Rome. Previously, Jessica was Nutrition Coordinator for the Millennium Villages Project and Nutrition Director at the Center for Global Health and Economic Development at the Earth Institute, Columbia University.
  • Linnet Taylor: Linnet Taylor is a development researcher at IDS whose work focuses on the political economy of technology diffusion in Africa. She has conducted policy research for DfID, ippr, UNICEF and the UNDP Human Development Report. She previously worked for the Rockefeller Foundation.
  • Shandana Mohmand: Shandana Mohmand is a political science researcher at IDS whose work is focused on voting behaviour, socio-economic inequality and the politics of public service delivery. She has also conducted policy research for ADB, DFID, CIDA, and the UNDP Human Development Report Office.

Key contact

Photo of Shandana Mohmand

T: +44 (0)1273 915720


More details

Accelerating Reductions in Undernutrition What can nutrition governance tell us?

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 22 (2012)
Haddad, L., Acosta, A.M. and Fanzo, J.

A synthesis of lessons - Government experiences of scale-up of Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM)

In 'A synthesis of lessons - Government experiences of scale-up of Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM)' (2012)
Khara, T., Mejía Acosta, A., Dolan, C. and Shoham, J.

Admissible Evidence in the Court of Development Evaluation? The Impact of CARE's SHOUHARDO Project on Child Stunting in Bangladesh

IDS Working Paper 376 (2011)
Smith, L.C., Kahn, F., Frankenberger, T.R. and Wadud, A.

Analysing Success in the Fight against Malnutrition in Peru

IDS Working Paper 367 (2011)
Mejía Acosta, A.

Lifting the Curse: Overcoming Persistent Undernutrition in India

IDS Bulletin 40.4 (2009)
Haddad, L. and Zeitlyn, S.

Improving the nutrition status of children and women

id21 Insights 73 (2008)
Haddad, L., Sumner, A., Lindstrom, J. et al

Partner researchers

Jessica Fanzo