Enhancing the effectiveness of agriculture to nutrition pathways

Project

Increased agricultural productivity does not automatically translate to improved nutrition. KIT Royal Tropical Institute addresses this challenge in a new report, in collaboration with the Food & Business Knowledge Platform.

Key insights from a gender analysis of impact evaluation design

KIT recently finalized a one-year research project to generate policy-relevant recommendations for the improved design and evaluation framework of nutrition sensitive agricultural interventions. The project explored women’s empowerment as a key link between agriculture and nutrition outcomes. It also aimed to better understand the different impact pathways between agriculture and nutrition.

Analysing women’s empowerment

The report explores past impact evaluations of nutrition sensitive agricultural programmes to unpack the different approaches to how they analysed women’s empowerment. It focuses on evaluation objectives, evaluation design methodologies and choice of indicators. The paper applies a women’s empowerment lens to an agricultural-nutrition pathways framework. In doing so, it aims to understand how nutrition sensitive programmes addressed women’s role and influence (or lack thereof) in relation to key decision making moments along the pathways. Most notably, these include decisions on what is produced, what is sold and how income is used. It also looks at how these factors influence the nature of household consumption. The analysis of the impact evaluations specifically looks at the household level as well as intra-household dynamics.

Exploring evaluation & project designs

The report explores how evaluation and project designs perpetuate implicit understandings of women’s empowerment and their role in agriculture. These are important because they influence the evidence generated on how women’s empowerment matters for key pathways between agriculture to nutrition. The report analyses how the choice of indicators used at impact and outcome level have implications for interpretations of how women empowerment may aid or hinder expected impact pathways from agriculture to nutrition. It also looks specifically at how women’s empowerment can be a key entry point to link agriculture with nutrition outcomes.

The report uses these findings to identify key recommendations for how nutrition sensitive evaluation designs can more effectively measure and create the evidence on how agricultural programs can contribute to nutrition, through women’s empowerment.

Women’s empowerment is an essential aspect to understand and address the link between agricultural programmes and nutrition outcomes. This can be achieved by including women’s empowerment as an additional objective of the agricultural programmes. It can also be positioned as a means towards realizing nutrition outcomes. It depends on the context and the starting point of a project, as well as to what degree women’s empowerment is desirable and considered needed. These lessons are important for future program design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Results

The report featured during a Netherlands Nutrition Working Group event on better metrics to explore the impact of nutrition sensitive interventions.