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

3. During June 2020-May 2021, HKI continued several projects supported by new private foundations that were initiated in 2017-2019, including the King Philanthropies-supported Enhanced Homestead Food Production (EHFP) project in Myanmar; the Jacobs Foundation-supported Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) initiative in Côte d'Ivoire 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 Hygeine Actions (ENA-EHA) framework and received additional funding for a second phase in May 2019; Eleanor Crook Foundation-supported RCT research on effectiveness of mobile approaches for nutrition behavior change in Tanzania; orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) promotion in Burkina Faso from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, as well as in Sierra Leone from The Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND); Comic Relief support for infant and young child feeding (IYCF) promotion and access to vitamin A supplementation (VAS) and community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) services in Mozambique; and Roros Foundation funding to expand water access for health and agricultural livelihood activities in Senegal. The funding for these projects amounts to approximately US$12.8 million. 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 US$37.5 million to date, including over US$3.4 million in 2020-2021 alone, to support VAS in select African countries.

HKI's 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, Micronutrient Forum Program Committee, the Core Group of Standing for Nutrition, the Eleanor Crook Foundation Global Advisory Board, USAID's Advancing Nutrition Partner Advisory Group, the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the Strengthening Economic Evaluation for Multisectoral Strategies for Nutrition (SEEMS-Nutrition), Standing Together for Nutrition, the Healthier Rice Advisory Committee, and the Access to Nutrition Index Breastmilk Substitute Working Group. In addition, HKI participates regularly in the UNICEF- and World Health Organization (WHO)-led Global Breastfeeding Collective, WHO- and UNICEF-led NetCode initiative, Global Nutrition Cluster, Infant Feeding in Emergencies Core Group, and other nutrition initiatives.

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

1. 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 HKI's commitment to build the evidence-base for nutrition sensitive interventions.

Nepal: During 2020-21, Helen Keller 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. The model establishes one village model farmer (VMF) per 16 households, on average, and they serve as a local resource with a model farm, and lead monthly discussions in HFP group meetings regarding agriculture and livestock techniques and linkages between agriculture and health and nutrition, as well as related gender and social issues. As of May 2021, Suaahara II had reached approximately 114,504 households in the 1,000-day period, including 90,194 households from 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 which are severely food insecure, of lower socio-economic status, have limited access to agrovets, and have lost standing crops and vegetable seeds due to current floods and landslides. The program is providing remote counseling via mobile phones to ensure households continue to receive technical support for homestead gardening, as well as providing referrals to government safety nets for extremely food insecure households. Moreover, the program is also prioritizing digital agriculture extension advisory services via mobile application (Krishi Guru) and Facebook Messenger to improve community's access to timely agriculture/livestock extension advisory services and information efficiently and in an interactive way.

Bangladesh: Through its Sustainable Agriculture and Production Linked to Improved Nutrition Status, Resilience and Gender Equity (SAPLING) program, which 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. SAPLING has responded to Covid-19 by providing virtual training and social behavior change messaging on protective measures, ensuring water access at clinics and other critical locations, and collaborating with local disaster management infrastructure and safety nets. As the intense lockdowns significantly impacted participant livelihoods, assets and savings, SAPLING prioritized continuity of interventions, adapting to virtual and social media platforms, mobile phone interactions or smaller group sizes for agricultural training and technical support, linkage meetings for market actors, savings and internal lending communities (SILCs), and maternal and child health and nutrition (MCHN) activities. In June 2020, HKI started up the Bandarban Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative (BANI) to build upon SAPLING's work in the same target areas, with a goal of reducing the impact of Covid-19 pandemic mitigation measures on incomes and food and nutrition security.

Vietnam: Helen Keller is conducting a mixed-methods study to assess factors associated with sustained adoption of practices within non-emergency food security programming in northern Vietnam. Specifically, the study is assessing the sustainability of the following outcomes: (1) improved year-round production of micronutrient-rich foods; (2) improved consumption of micronutrient-rich foods and infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices; (3) improved water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practices; and (4) improved income generation from sale of excess household produce. HKI is following up with households that participated in our Enhanced Homestead Food Production (EHFP) projects implemented several years earlier in Son La, Hoa Binh and Lai Chau provinces. Data analysis is underway and results should be available in Fall 2021.

Burkina Faso: In 2020-2021, HKI continued implementing and evaluating the impact of an integrated nutrition program in 60 villages located in Sissili province, which includes: (1) the cultivation of Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potatoes (OFSPs); (2) promotion of the production and consumption of Vitamin A-rich OFSPs through Village Model Farms that serve as a learning platform for participants; (3) promotion of optimal IYCF; practices by creating women's learning groups; (4) use of Husband Schools as a gender-transformative approach to empower women; and (5) enhancement of the economic status of women by introducing SILCs. Thus far, achievements include the establishment of 2,062 homestead gardens, training of 580 Husband School participants on nutrition, agriculture and WASH practices, and the establishment of 59 SILC groups that have received training and initiated savings activities.

In addition to the programs above, HKI continued to implement nutrition-sensitive interventions in Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Myanmar, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

2. The Burkina Faso fortification work was successfully completed in 2015. 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: (1) helping to establish multi-stakeholder Country Working Groups (CWGs) in each country to identify research needs needed to inform policy decisions related to bouillon fortification; (2) assessing the contribution of bouillon consumption to total salt intake; (3) conducting formative assessment on stakeholder perceptions of bouillon fortification; and (4) undertaking a clinical trial, in coordination with UC Davis, to assess the effect of consumption of micronutrient fortified bouillon on nutrient intakes and micronutrient biomarkers in Ghana. During 2020-2021, the assessments on perceptions of bouillon fortification and contribution of bouillon to salt intake were completed, as well as capacity assessments of government institutions and industry for adequate monitoring. Furthermore, in West Africa harmonized standards for safe manufacturing of bouillon have been drafted and are undergoing review by ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Member States. The clinical trial, however, has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Assessment
On course
Basis of assessment

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