Nutrition for Growth (N4G) commitment
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.
1. Progress and Results during 2018-2019 (Jan 2018 – June 2019): Helen Keller International (HKI) commits to building the evidence base and testing program models related to nutrition sensitive interventions. This includes pilot programs for biofortified millet and sorghum in Mali and orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) in Burkina Faso. We will also refine and improve our homestead food production model in a number of Africa and Asia Pacific countries. On-track and on-going. HKI continues to make good progress on all non-financial commitments related to building the evidence base. During 2018, analyses from an RCT in Burkina Faso conducted through IFPRI revealed that HKI’s enhanced homestead food production (EHFP) program was effective in reducing anaemia; that adding WASH increased EHFP effectiveness for reducing anaemia, and that adding LNS also increased EHFP+WASH effectiveness for reducing anaemia, improved vitamin A status and reduced the prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia and stunting. These results highlight the importance of addressing the multiple causes of undernutrition simultaneously, through multisectoral programs. HKI also returned to a nutrition-sensitive project in Cote d’Ivoire 18 months after the project ended to assess the sustainability of interventions and found some sustainability for the village-level gardening activities and household-level poultry-keeping and levels of nutrition knowledge and practices, but no sustainability for village-level poultry seen during the project. In addition, in Asia Pacific, we continue to conduct RCTs on our EHFP model, including studies in Cambodia (with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funding) and Myanmar (with private family foundation funding). Our Farmer Nutrition School Model in Bangladesh demonstrated that agriculture interventions with an explicit nutrition objective and a program design based on local contexts can generate rapid and sustained improvement in food production and dietary quality (Du, World Nutrition, 2018). This study suggests that a program design based on local contexts with moderate management support and minimum material inputs can have a powerful effect on women’s dietary diversity within a short time.
2. In addition, we continue to support large scale food fortification efforts in Burkina Faso (funding from Government of Taiwan) to complete the final phase of a multi-year investment which commenced in 2006 to fortify wheat flour with iron folate and vegetable cooking oil with vitamin A. Successfully completed in 2015. The total population reached in Burkina 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’s 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 fortifying these foods with essential micronutrients. Looking ahead, HKI is currently helping to generating the necessary evidence, and data needs to inform government decisions to fortify bouillon in Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Senegal. Over the next two years, HKI will promote advocacy, stronger coordination and consensus building among national and regional actors in support of food fortification while facilitating development and harmonization of standards for bouillon at national and regional levels.
Significant progress and achievements have been made on commitment 1. Commitment 2 was successfully completed in 2015 and large scale food production efforts in Burkina Faso are ongoing.
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
3. In 2018-2019, HKI continued several projects supported by new private foundations that were initiated in 2017, including the King Philanthropies-supported EHFP project (including RCT trial mentioned above) in Myanmar; the Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) initiative in Cote d’Ivoire where HKI piloted an innovative approach to integrating support for early child development during the first 1,000 days within the ENA-EHA framework and recently received additional funding for a second phase; and Eleanor Crook Foundation-supported RCT research on effectiveness of mobile approaches for nutrition behaviour change in Tanzania. The funding for these three projects amounts to nearly $8 million. Funding for new projects initiated in 2019 include a $3 million award for orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) promotion in Burkina Faso from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and a pending award of $100,000 for OFSP in Sierra Leone from The Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND). We also continue to receive ongoing support for vitamin A supplementation (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, amount to over $19 million for several years to support VAS in select African countries.
4. On-track and on-going. HKI’s senior leadership continues to play leadership roles in Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, with our Senior Vice President, Programs, continuing to serve on SUN Civil Society’s Steering Group. HKI also serves as a member of the Global Alliance for Vitamin A (GAVA) and the Global Food Fortification Task Force. In addition, HKI serves on the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the Strengthening Economic Evaluation for Multisectoral Strategies for Nutrition (SEEMS-Nutrition), is a Global Advisory Board Member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Nutrition Private Sector Programme, and a member of the Program Committee of the Micronutrient Forum.
Although original commitment language is vague, current project portfolio includes private funding mechanisms and leadership status in multiple initiatives is ongoing.