Nutrition

HKI provides technical assistance to national governments and local partners in Africa and Asia-Pacific to improve the nutrition of infants and young children, as well as that of their mothers and other vulnerable family members. Our work aims to develop capacity of the nutrition workforce through practical and state-of-the-art training. HKI experts provide technical assistance in the areas of feeding infants and young children, adolescent nutrition, women’s nutrition, micronutrients, food fortification, and the care of sick and malnourished children. We also work to address the underlying causes of malnutrition through ‘agriculture for nutrition’ programs. Our field teams undertake research to identify effective program implementation that will reach people most in need and to support the development of policies and strategies that are evidence-based and foster improvements.

Nutrition for Developing Countries Textbook. Having drawn from the experiences of an international editor and writing team comprised of senior HKI staff with extensive field experience, HKI is proud to have helped publish in 2015 an update of the classic Oxford University Press textbook Nutrition for Developing Countries, which brings together essential and proven nutrition actions to address both under- and over-nutrition. The book won the British Medical Association’s distinction of ‘highly commended’ for the public health category in 2016. Read more about this action-oriented and practical book for nutrition field practitioners in Africa and Asia-Pacific.

Nutrition Training Materials for Front-line Workers. HKI’s nutrition experts teamed up with colleagues at sister organizations to write The Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) and Essential Hygiene Actions (EHA) training materials that our country program field teams use to improve the capacity of front-line workers (health workers and community workers) to deliver the right nutrition services and messages to the right people at the right time using all relevant program platforms, both within and outside the health system. The ENA/EHA training materials also include exercises to build participants’ skills in counseling and negotiation that support caregivers in adopting improved practices. These ENA/EHA training materials are available in both English and French.

Research on Infant and Young Child Feeding. HKI’s Assessment & Research on Child Feeding (ARCH) project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is investigating how food products for infants and young children are promoted. In the first three years of the project, research was conducted in Cambodia, Nepal, Senegal, and Tanzania on the availability, promotion, and consumption of foods consumed by infants and young children under two years of age, including breastmilk substitutes and commercially produced complementary and snack foods. Read about the ARCH project’s exciting results, which have been used by the World Health Organization, among other groups.

Agriculture for Nutrition Programs. Since 1988, when it was first piloted in Bangladesh, HKI has addressed malnutrition, household food insecurity and poverty through the development and implementation of our flagship Enhanced Homestead Food Production (EHFP) program, which focuses on women farmers to increase year-round availability and intake of diverse micronutrient-rich foods and promotes optimal nutrition and hygiene practices among poor households. The cumulative number of families reached by HKI’s EHFP program today totals nearly 1.5 million across both Asia-Pacific and Africa. Learn more about the evolution and impact of HKI’s EHFP program model.

To implement the Asia-based EHFP program model in Africa, HKI field teams needed to test and adapt the model to the local needs and vastly different contexts found in African countries. With funding from Global Affairs Canada, HKI launched a research project called “Creating Homestead Agriculture for Nutrition and Gender Equity” (CHANGE) in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Tanzania. Read more about what we learned through the CHANGE project and its impact on the well-being of smallholder farmers – many times women – in one of the world’s most impoverished regions.

Nutrition News for Africa is a monthly electronic newsletter which aims to disseminate state-of-the-art research and policy papers to scientists, program planners, policy makers, and opinion leaders working in the field of public health nutrition in Africa. The newsletter is prepared as a collaborative effort of Helen Keller International (HKI) and the Program in International and Community Nutrition (PICN) of the University of California, Davis. To subscribe to this newsletter, please click Subscribe Here.