CSO

Helen Keller International (HKI)

Nutrition for Growth (N4G) commitment

Reported progress

Assessment

Non-financial commitments
New commitment - added in 2013

3. HKI will continue to search out new private funding to support more nutrition initiatives

4. HKI will continue to play a leadership role in global nutrition initiatives

Reported progress

On track and ongoing.

HKIs senior leadership in nutrition continues to play leadership roles in key global nutrition initiatives including: the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement; the Global Alliance for Vitamin A (GAVA); the Global Food Fortification Task Force; the Micronutrient Forum Program Committee; the Core Group of Standing for Nutrition; the Eleanor Crook Foundation Global Advisory Board; USAIDs Advancing Nutrition Partner Advisory Group; the RISING Initiative; the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the Strengthening Economic Evaluation for Multisectoral Strategies for Nutrition (SEEMS-Nutrition), the Global Advisory Board of the Bill & Melinda Gates Nutrition Private Sector Programme, and the Access to Nutrition Index Breastmilk Substitute Working Group. In addition, HKI participates regularly the UNICEF Global Breastfeeding Initiative NetCode, and other nutrition initiatives.

In 2019-2020, HKI continued several projects supported by new private foundations that were initiated in 2017-2018, including the King Philanthropies-supported EHFP project (including the RCT trial mentioned above) in Myanmar; the Jacobs Foundation-supported Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) initiative in Cte dIvoire where HKI piloted an innovative approach to integrating support for early child development during the first 1,000 days within the Essential Nutrition Actions and Essential Hygiene Actions (ENA-EHA) framework and received additional funding for a second phase in May 2019; the Eleanor Crook Foundation-supported RCT research on effectiveness of mobile approaches for nutrition behavior change in Tanzania; and OFSP promotion in Burkina Faso by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, as well as in Sierra Leone by the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND). The funding for these four projects amounts to approximately $11 million. Funding for new projects initiated in 2019-2020 includes a $1 million award from Comic Relief to support IYCF promotion and access to vitamin A supplementation (VAS) and community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) services in Mozambique; and a $120,000 award from the Roros Foundation to expand water access for health and agricultural livelihood activities in Senegal. We also continue to receive ongoing support for VAS based on our GiveWell endorsement, including from Good Ventures, Three Graces, and Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation. These foundation grants, as well as related private funding inspired by the GiveWell endorsement, have amounted to over $34 million to date to support VAS in select African countries.

Assessment
On course
Basis of assessment

At least half of the individual commitment components are assessed to be on course

London 2013

1. Building evidence base related to nutrition sensitive interventions, including bio fortified crops.

2. Support large-scale food fortification efforts in Burkina Faso (funding from government of Taiwan) folate and vegetable cooking oil with vitamin A.

Reported progress

On track and ongoing. HKI continues to make good progress on all non-financial commitments related to building the evidence base, although the Covid-19 pandemic has imposed new implementation challenges. Below we provide selective examples of HKIs commitment to build the evidence base for nutrition sensitive interventions.

Nepal: During 2019-20, HKI continued to implement homestead food production (HFP) activities in Nepal through the USAID-funded Suaahara program. This model introduces improved techniques for vegetable gardening and poultry production at the household level to increase yields and promote year-round production and consumption of nutrient-rich foods. As of July 2020, Suaahara II had reached approximately 83,100 households in the 1,000-day period, in addition to the 114,000 reached during the first phase of Suaahara. The Suaahara program is responding to the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown by coordinating with Agriculture Knowledge Centers and municipalities to provide vegetable seeds to households that are severely food insecure, of lower socio-economic status, have limited access to agrovets, and have lost standing crops and vegetable seeds due to floods and landslides.

Bangladesh: Through its Sustainable Agriculture and Production Linked to Improved Nutrition Status, Resilience and Gender Equity (SAPLING) program that works with ~50,000 poor households in Bandarban District of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, HKI has increased the number of hectares farmed using resilient techniques, improved family access to and consumption of nutritious foods, and increased the proportion of women meeting the minimum dietary diversity threshold to 80%.

Cambodia: HKI completed the endline survey for a three-armed randomized controlled trial (RCT) to assess whether gender-transformative activities increase the effect of the Enhanced Homestead Food Production (EHFP) intervention on food production and womens empowerment, and whether increased gender equality is associated with improved household health and nutrition. Data analysis is underway and preliminary findings suggest that the EHFP and EHFP+Gender arms increased crop diversity and womens dietary diversity scores compared to the control arm; that women who participated in the EHFP+Gender arm had slightly (but non-significant) increased dietary diversity compared to the other two arms; and that there were positive shifts toward increased decision-making, but it is unclear whether these indicate increased empowerment or merely increased womens participation in agricultural activities.

Burkina Faso: In 2019 HKI began implementing and evaluating the impact of an integrated nutrition program in 60 villages located in Sissili province that includes: (i) the cultivation of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP); (ii) promotion of the production and consumption of vitamin A-rich OFSPs through Village Model farms that will serve as a learning platform for participants; (iii) promotion of optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices by creating womens learning groups; (iv) use of Husband Schools as a gender-transformative approach to empower women; and (v) enhancement of the economic status of women by introducing Saving and Internal Lending Communities (SILC).

In addition to the programs above, HKI is continuing to implement nutrition-sensitive interventions in Senegal, Cte dIvoire, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Sierra Leone.

Successfully completed in 2015. The total population reached in Burkina Faso by these fortified staple food products is estimated to be over 16 million for vitamin A-fortified cooking oil and 16.6 million for iron folate-fortified wheat flour. This nears national coverage of Burkina Fasos population of 17.6 million. Over the lifetime of the project, a total of 31 vegetable oil producers (1 large and 30 small) and two large-scale wheat millers participated and received training as well as basic supplies to fortify these foods with essential micronutrients.

HKI is currently working to generate the necessary evidence and data needs to inform government decisions to fortify bouillon in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Senegal. HKI is helping to: (i) establish multistakeholder Country Working Groups (CWG) in each country to identify research needs needed to inform policy decisions related to bouillon fortification; (ii) assess the contribution of bouillon consumption to total salt intake; (iii) conduct formative assessment on stakeholder perceptions of bouillon fortification; and (iv) undertake a clinical trial, in coordination with University of California, Davis (UC Davis), to assess the effect of consumption of micronutrient-fortified bouillon on nutrient intakes and micronutrient biomarkers in Ghana.

Assessment
On course
Basis of assessment

At least half of the individual commitment components are assessed to be on course