The Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN) project implemented by Concern Worldwide and Mumbwa Child Development agency has received the Harvest Nutrition Award from the Secure Nutrition Platform.
The project was chosen for best bridging the gap between nutrition, agriculture and food security and for having the greatest potential impact on nutrition.
The RAIN project aims to reduce the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in children through integrated agriculture, health and nutrition interventions during the critical period from conception until 24 months of age.
The RAIN project supports effective agriculture interventions to increase year-round availability of and access to good-quality foods at household level through improved production of vegetables, fruits, legumes and small livestock at homestead level, and to optimize health and nutrition through delivery of social behavior change communication.
Gender is recognized in the project as crucial to maximize the nutrition impact of agriculture & nutrition interventions.
Both community and group level gender sensitization focusing on the relation between gender, agriculture and nutrition are being conducted on a large scale. A unique facet of this project is that it works to develop a model that realigns the actors at the District level who are involved in service delivery to promote synergy in their work and optimize impact on chronic malnutrition. The approach focuses on addressing the multi-sectoral causes of malnutrition and on learning how to effectively address the challenges of multi-sectoral collaboration.
The project works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health.
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) rigorously evaluates the impact of the RAIN model, monitors process indicators to understand the intended impact pathways, and documents and disseminates learning from the project at local, national and international level.
Preliminary data shows very encouraging results, with increased production of various micronutrient rich crops, such as green leafy vegetables and improved diet of mothers and children during both the hunger as the post-harvest season.
Against a background of people concentrating on growing cash crops, mainly maize and cotton, this change is a notable one. The gender component has started to show results, whereby beneficiaries indicate positive changes in their husbands conduct e.g. by helping with building animal shelter, assisting with homestead garden watering, improved access to land.