Opinion

Stories of change in nutrition

Published on 30 June 2016

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Samantha Reddin

Communications Manager for Transform Nutrition

This week sees the launch of the book Nourishing Millions: Stories of Change in Nutrition which brings together the most intriguing stories about improving nutrition from the past five decades. These stories provide insight into what works in nutrition, what does not, and the factors that contribute to success.

Nourishing Millions

“Statistics are important in fighting global hunger and malnutrition, but it’s critical that we don’t forget the names, faces, and stories of those who feel it first-hand,” said Stuart Gillespie, IFPRI senior research fellow and visiting fellow at IDS. “This book brings together the most intriguing stories about change in nutrition from the past five decades to alter perceptions and inspire action.”

IDS researchers and knowledge professionals are co-authors in five of the chapters. A key theme of work for us via the Transform Nutrition Consortium has been identifying and encouraging Nutrition Champions and Transforming Leadership and Accountability. Chapter 18 Championing Nutrition: Effective Leadership for Action highlights that although evidence within the nutrition and public health arenas points time and again to the role of leadership in successfully crafting nutrition policies and movements, little was known, until recently, about the characteristics of leaders in nutrition: who they are, how they function, with whom they work, and what makes them effective.

The personal stories of 10 nutrition champions, identified as part of a global selection process run by Transform Nutrition in 2015, are told to convey the depth, breadth, and diversity of experience of these remarkable leaders and are included in the chapter. A new platform which tells their stories in detail has also been launched this week.

Nutrition Champions   The stories in the book ‘Nourishing Millions’ are diverse, spanning 50 years and playing out in different arenas, from community efforts to global initiatives. They involve many sectors and disciplines beyond just nutrition, including health, agriculture, education, social protection, and water and sanitation. The book is also geographically diverse, including case studies from Brazil, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru, Vietnam.

“One of the strongest messages woven through all these stories seems to be that there are multiple ways to improve children’s nutritional status (and therefore longer term health and cognitive ability) but the wider development community still needs to wake up to the possibilities which include but now go far beyond a simple focus on dietary intake.” Said Nick Nisbett, IDS Research Fellow and co-author of 3 chapters in the book.

We are having a UK Launch of ‘Nourishing Millions’ on Monday 11 July near Brighton which will feature highlights from the book followed by discussion on how to scale up as well as accelerate progress on nutrition. Please register if you would like to attend.

Stories of Change is funded by CIFF and DFID (via Transform Nutrition).

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