Looking beyond food aid to tackle malnutrition
The road to nutrition isn’t straightforward, and there are many interconnected factors aside from food supply that must be addressed — including linking livelihood opportunities and engaging community members in wider understanding of nutrition interventions, as well as garnering donor support for long-term projects.
But changing behaviors is easier said than done, especially when the main incentive for the mothers to come to the nutrition center — food — is not always available.
So WFP Sudan is trying a different tactic: linking livelihood and income-generating activities to nutrition services. Training mothers how to make fuel-efficient stoves and briquettes under the Safe Access to Fuel-efficient Stoves, or SAFE project, is one example. They can train other women afterward and sell the briquettes. The organization is also looking to get men in the community to participate by offering a food for work scheme, where the community identifies a priority project — for example, a hafir, or an underground water reservoir — and men or women receive food in exchange for labor in constructing it.
The food for work program, for example, is already being piloted in Kassala in eastern Sudan, with the goal of mainstreaming it in all of the agency’s nutrition interventions across the country.