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Agriculture to Nutrition (ATONU): Improving Nutrition Outcomes through Optimized Agriculture Investments
ATONU Side Event at the ANH Week, ILRI Campus, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 15:30 - 18:00
21 June 2016


Background and Rationale

The Agriculture to Nutrition (ATONU): Improving Nutrition Outcomes through Optimized Agriculture Investments Project will be hosting a side event at the first meeting of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy to be held in Addis Ababa 21-25 June 2016. The Academy is being hosted by the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH), and is part of the Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) project. IMMANA aims to create a global network of researchers to develop and ensure the uptake of innovative methods and metrics to accelerate the development of a robust scientific evidence base to guide changes in global agriculture to feed the world's population in a way that is both healthy and sustainable. This is very much in line with the objectives of ATONU.

The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and partners are implementing the ATONU project. The project will answer the question of what agriculture projects and programs can do to deliver positive nutrition outcomes. ATONU is developing frameworks and tools to design, pilot, rigorously evaluate and promote a range of nutrition-sensitive interventions (NSIs) that will improve the nutrition of smallholder farm families, particularly women of child bearing age and young children in the first 1,000 days, who are the most nutritionally vulnerable.

ATONU's approach is to work with existing agriculture development projects to integrate NSIs, implement the interventions, evaluate their impact and provide evidence of what agriculture can do to deliver positive nutrition outcomes. In addition, ATONU will provide technical assistance to existing and pipeline smallholder agricultural projects and programs that would like to integrate nutrition.

ATONU will accomplish its objectives through five work packages:

  1. Work Package 1 - focuses on design, intervention, monitoring, evaluation and learning tools (DIMELT). It guides the selection of agriculture investments and determine the best-bet agricultural interventions to deliver positive nutrition outcomes.
  2. Work Package 2 - will provide technical assistance for the implementation and measurement of the effectiveness and impact of context-specific tailored agricultural interventions, and provide proof of concept (POCTA).
  3. Work Package 3 - will focus on policy advocacy, communications and knowledge management (PACK), and will disseminate ATONU's research evidence to influence the wider national and international development agendas.
  4. Work Package 4 - will strengthen the capacity of participating individuals, consortium members and African institutions (Capacity Development - CD).
  5. Work Package 5 - will strengthen operations and organization systems to manage the ATONU Project (Systems).

Gender and environmental sustainability are central cross-cutting themes and will be mainstreamed across the project.

ATONU will explore and work with five pathways to strengthen the contribution of agriculture to positive nutrition outcomes:

  1. Pathway 1: Food production for household consumption;
  2. Pathway 2: Income-oriented production for food, health and other non-food items;
  3. Pathway 3: Empowerment of women as agents instrumental to household food security and health outcomes;
  4. Pathway 4: Reduction in real food prices associated with increased agricultural production;
  5. Pathway 5: Nutrition Sensitive Agricultural Growth - the indirect relationship between increasing agricultural productivity and nutrition outcomes through the agriculture sector's contribution to national income and macro-economic growth.

ATONU has developed frameworks to select agricultural projects for integrating nutrition-sensitive interventions, identifying and selecting nutrition-sensitive interventions and evaluating their impact. To date, ATONU has selected two pilot countries, Ethiopia and Tanzania, and one pilot project, the African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG), being implemented by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in the two countries. In preparation for implementation and evaluation of the impact of the selected interventions, FANRPAN and its partners have developed an impact evaluation protocol and NSIs.

In line with the theme of the Academy, ATONU is organizing this side event as a platform to share our experiences with other agriculture-nutrition practitioners and to get feedback on our proposed interventions and impact evaluation designs.

Objectives of the Side Event

  1. Share overview of ATONU and ACGG projects - Dr Simbarashe Sibanda, FANRPAN and Dr Tedelle Dessie, ILRI
  2. Share the frameworks for selecting agricultural development projects with potential for integrating nutrition, and NSI identification and selection - Dr T Madzivhandila, FANRPAN
  3. Discuss different nutrition-sensitive interventions, what works - Dr Amy Webb-Girard, Emory University
  4. Share information on the proposed nutrition-sensitive interventions for ACGG - Bertha Mkandawire, FANRPAN
  5. Discuss impact evaluation designs for agriculture-nutrition interventions in research and development projects - Dr Jef Leroy, IFPRI
  6. Discuss proposed design for the ACGG Project - Dr Nilupa Gunaratna and Dr Abdallah Noor, Harvard Chan School of Public Health

Expected Outputs

  1. Frameworks for selecting agricultural development projects with potential for integrating nutrition, and NSI identification and selection from ATONU and other projects reviewed;
  2. Agree on which interventions show the greatest promise for delivering positive nutrition impact and NSIs for ACGG project reviewed;
  3. Answer the question of which impact evaluation designs would be appropriate for research and development projects;
  4. Proposed impact evaluation design for ACGG-ATONU reviewed.

Structure of the Side Event

The side event will comprise brief presentations (10-12 minutes) by lead discussants as panelists, followed by a general discussion and question and answer session.

Who Should Attend?

The side event will be attended by research and development practitioners, thought leaders in ag-nutrition, policy makers and other agricultural value chain actors.


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