Herding livestock programs toward nutrition
This report (PDF) by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) examines the ways in which livestock and animal-sourced foods contribute to better nutrition. A case study of a Feed the Future dairy program in Rwanda is presented to understand how Feed the Future livestock programs can contribute to better outcomes for under nutrition. Despite this potential, livestock programs, including those led by Feed the Future, are rarely designed to address chronic undernutrition. Rather, they are primarily focused on catalyzing changewithin dynamic market systems, improving terms of production and trade for smallholders. Decisions on what afamily eats, however, are made at the household level, and it is hard to change nutrition behaviors through markets alone. The Feed the Future dairy program in Rwanda was designed to build linkages between dairy farmers, milk processors, and endmarket consumers. Addressing chronic undernutrition was not a part of the dairy program’s original goal, nor was it part of the broader Feed the Future strategy for Rwanda. However, a combination of strong leadership and flexibility on the part of both the donor and the implementing partner helped Feed the Future in Rwanda shift gears to intentionally address chronic undernutrition. Using creative behavior change communications interventions, the Rwanda dairy program successfully built nutrition strategies into existing activities in addition to developing new activities.