The field research under the AgriDiet project was completed in September 2015. The analysis is ongoing and the research findings will continue to be added to this site.

The AgriDiet site will also continue to provide updates on the latest research findings relating to agriculture and nutrition in Ethiopia and Tanzania via ELDIS

Agridiet Resource Centre

The Agridiet Resource Centre highlights a selection of the latest research on Agriculture and Nutrition in Africa from a broad range of research organisations - not just those involved in the Agridiet project. All the documents shown are freely available to download. This service is provided in partnership with IDS Knowledge Services using open data supplied by Eldis.

To suggest a document for inclusion in the Resource Centre please email or use the online document submission form.

  • Scaling Up Impact on Nutrition: What Will It Take?

    Despite consensus on actions to improve nutrition globally, less is known about how to operationalize the right mix of actions—nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive—equitably, at scale, in different contexts. This review draws on a large scaling-up literature search and 4 case studies of large-scale nutrition programs with proven impact to synthesize critical elements for impact at scale. Nine elements emerged as central: 

    1. having a clear vision or goal for impact; 
    2. intervention characteristics
    3. an enabling organizational context for scaling up
    4. establishing drivers such as catalysts, champions, systemwide ownership, and incentives
    5. choosing contextually relevant strategies and pathways for scaling up
    6. building operational and strategic capacities
    7. ensuring adequacy, stability, and flexibility of financing
    8. ensuring adequate governance structures and systems
    9. embedding mechanisms for monitoring, learning, and accountability. 

    Translating current political commitment to large-scale impact on nutrition will require robust attention to these...

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  • Understanding, enabling and building effective leadership in nutrition

    Transform Nutrition’s work on leaders in nutrition explores how effective leaders understand the systems which both shape and constrain their action; and are able to translate this understanding into action which spans the boundaries of sectors and disciplinary knowledge.
    Researchers within the Transform Nutrition consortium carried out a study of 89 individuals or representatives of organisations who had been identified as national level leaders within the field of nutrition in four countries: India, Bangladesh, Kenya and Ethiopia. Leaders here came from diverse backgrounds but were able to adapt strategically to the political landscape; spanning boundaries between sectors and disciplines and bring others along as their understanding of nutrition’smulti-sectoral nature developed.
    As what leaders do is more important that who leaders are, the researchers suggest a number of way in which leadership can be supported and built. A more structured effort is called for to build a cadre of leaders up to the challenge of working effectively to tackle undernutrition as a pressing global...

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  • Accounting for nutritional changes in six success stories: a regression-decomposition approach

    Over the past two decades, many developing countries have made impressive progress in reducing undernutrition. In this paper, the authors explore potential explanations of this success by applying consistent statistical methods to multiple rounds of Demographic Health Surveys for Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia, Odisha, Senegal, and Zambia.

    The research finds that changes in household wealth, mother's education and access to antenatal care are the largest drivers of nutritional improvement, except for Zambia where large increases in bednet usage is the single largest factor. Other factors play a smaller role in explaining nutritional improvements with improvements in sanitation only appearing to be important in South Asia. Overall, the results point to the need for multidimensional nutritional strategies involving a broad range of nutrition-sensitive sectors.


    • asset accumulation and parental education are important predictor of nutritional improvement in most countries

    • improved sanitation is more strongly associated with height-for-age in South Asian countries

    • asset accumulation and parental education are important predictor of nutritional improvement in most countries


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  • Championing nutrition: effective leadership for action

    The calls for strong leadership in the fight against global and national malnutrition have multiplied during the past decade. The role of nutrition champions in advocating for nutrition, formulating policies, and coordinating and implementing action in nutrition have increasingly been recognized in such countries as Peru, Brazil, Thailand, and the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Global initiatives such as the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, the African Nutrition Leadership Programme, and the European Nutrition Leadership Platform have invested in building up capacity for leadership among national governments, civil society, and the private sector. The World Public Health Nutrition Association’s guide on competencies needed to build up the workforce in global public health nutrition identified leadership as key. More widely, leadership within the field of public health has been highlighted as key to moving child or maternal health higher up on the global agenda and tackling critical issues such as HIV and AIDS at the national and community levels.

    While evidence within the nutrition and public health arenas points time and again to the role of leadership in successfully crafting nutrition policies and movements, little is actually known about the characteristics of leaders in nutrition: who they are, how they function, with whom they work, and what makes them effective.
    This chapter aims to answer some of these questions. It first reviews the literature on leadership within both nutrition and other disciplines. It then draws on interviews conducted with 89 influential decision makers in four countries with high burdens of undernutrition: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, and Kenya. The chapter also highlights a case study on leadership from Zambia and 10 nutrition champions identified as part of a global selection process run by Transform Nutrition in 2015, in order to conveythe depth and breadth of the experience of these leaders.

    This paper is a chapter in Nourishing millions: Stories of change in nutrition. Gillespie, Stuart; Hodge, Judith; Yosef, Sivan; and Pandya-Lorch, Rajul (Eds.) Ch. 18 Pp. 161-172. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute....

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  • Stories of change in nutrition: an overview

    After a period of relative success in generating political momentum to address malnutrition, there is an increasing urgency to focus on implementation and impact on the ground. This requires better documentation of the experiences of policymakers, nutrition leaders, program managers and implementers in making decisions on what to do in real time, such as coordinating and implementing multisectoral nutrition plans in dynamic country contexts.

    The goal of the Stories of Change (SoC) initiative is to foster and support such experiential learning by systematically assessing and analysing drivers of change in six high-burden contexts (Ethiopia, Zambia, Senegal, Bangladesh, Nepal and Odisha, India) that have had some success in accelerating improvements in nutrition. While recognising context-specificity, here the authors unpack the key pre-requisites (commitment, coherence, accountability, data, leadership, capacity and finance) that fuel and sustain progress.

    Highlights of this research:

    • political commitment is essential, but institutional commitment needed for action
    • leadership is transformational, and pivotal in triggering and sustaining change
    • Policy coherence, accountability, data, capacity and finance are other key...

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  • What drives and constrains effective leadership in tackling child undernutrition? Findings from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India and Kenya

    Strong leadership has been highlighted as a common element of success within countries that have made rapid progress in tackling child and maternal undernutrition. Yet little is known of what contributes to nutrition leaders’ success or lack of it in particular policy environments.

    This study of 89 individuals identified as influential within child and maternal undernutrition policy and programming in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya and India sheds light on why particular individuals have been effective in contributing towards positive changes in nutrition policy, and how they operate in the wider policy/political sphere. The authors employ a framework working outwards from individual capabilities, knowledge and motivations, through to wider political economy considerations and the narratives and knowledge structuring individual capacity. The paper argues that only by locating individuals within this wider political economy can we begin to appreciate the range of strategies and avenues for influence (or constraints to that influence) that individual leaders employ and encounter.


    • interviews with 89 leaders in four countries shed light on the incentives and constraints to effective leadership
    • understanding leadership entails studying the adaptive practice of leaders rather than their personalities
    • leaders studied operate within fluid boundaries set by local political-economies of nutrition
    • successful leaders (high adult development levels) are able to span boundaries and translate between disciplines and sectors
    • supportive action can develop leadership attributes in individuals and their networks in a number of ways identified...

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  • Climate shocks, food and nutrition security: evidence from the Young Lives cohort study

    Many people living in poor communities in Ethiopia, India (particularly, Andhra Pradesh), Peru and Vietnam experience climatic shocks such as droughts and floods, and are often faced with issues of food insecurity. 

    Drawing on survey data from Young Lives, an international study of childhood poverty involving 12,000 children in four countries, this paper examines the effects of environmental shocks on food insecurity and children’s development. The data, from children and their families living in rural and urban locations in Ethiopia, the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Peru, and Vietnam, provide information on the same individuals over time, allowing consideration of how earlier incidences of food insecurity and exposure to environmental shocks shape later outcomes

    After introducing the data and methods, this report considers the reported incidence of environmental shocks in the studied communities, and, the reported incidence of household food insecurity. Following a review of previous Young Lives evidence on how households cope with these events, the report then analyse the effects of environmental shocks on households’ food security and on children’s nutritional outcomes, measured in terms of their height-for-age, or...

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  • Mothers’ Agency in Managing Breastfeeding and Other Work in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and New Delhi, India

    Combining breastfeeding and other forms of work is desirable from both public health and labour productivity perspectives. This is often challenging, especially in low- or middle-income fast-growing urban settings. The aim of this thesis was to gain a deeper understanding of mothers’ perspectives on combining breastfeeding and other work in the urban contexts of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and New Delhi, India. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with community mothers (n=8) and health worker mothers (n=12) in Dar es Salaam, and mothers working in the health (n=10) and education sectors (n=10) in New Delhi.

    The methods of analysis were: qualitative content analysis, grounded theory approach, and directed and general inductive content analyses. Mothers’ agency manifested in several ways. Striving to integrate or segment the competing domains of home and work was a goal of these mothers to reduce conflicts in managing breastfeeding and other work. Spatial and time constraints led mothers to engage in an array of carefully planned actions and troubleshooting tactics that included ways of ensuring proximity between them and their baby and efficient time managing. The timing of these strategic actions spanned from pregnancy, over maternity leave, to the return to employment. Managing breastfeeding and work triggered emotions such as stress, frustration and guilt, but also satisfaction and joy. Mothers negotiated with family, employers, colleagues and informal networks to gain support for their strategies, displaying both individual, collective and proxy agency.

    Changing family structures and roles highlight the potentially greater supportive role of the partner/husband. Work/Family Border Theory and Bandura’s agency constructs provided frameworks for a deeper understanding of mothers’ perspectives, but using existing family relationship constructs would better differentiate between various modes of agency. Workplaces and maternity protection conditions were generally inadequate. Interventions are required: to strengthen the breastfeeding mother’s own agential capacity using an individual approach; to provide information to families and communities; to improve regulatory, structural and attitudinal conditions at workplaces, and to strengthen health and social services to adequately support mothers in managing breastfeeding and other work. It also addresses the issue of of women needing support outside the formal work environment where such policies do not cover them- being in the non-formal or informal sector.

    Adapted from...

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  • Effect of multiple micronutrient supplementation during pregnancy on maternal and birth outcomes

    Given the widespread prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies in developing countries, supplementation with multiple micronutrients rather than iron-folate alone, could be of potential benefit to the mother and the fetus. These benefits could relate to prevention of maternal complications and reduction in other adverse pregnancy outcomes such as small-for-gestational age (SGA) births, low birth weight, stillbirths, […]

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