A landscape analysis of what we know about mobile nutrition, agriculture and development
This working paper (PDF) from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) provides insight in how mobile technology can support nutrition and agricultural interventions. While the interest is growing in the use of mobile phones for nutrition behavior change interventions in LMICs, hard evidence is very limited, methodologically weak and often based anecdotal findings. Therefore this study reviews a number of cases where mobile technology interventions were used and summarizes the lessons learned from this. The second annex shows a useful and detailed description of examples of nutrition studies that used mobile technology to change the behavior of participants. The purpose of this paper is to assist would-be implementers and evaluators to understand the landscape they are operating in, so they can design nutrition and agriculture interventions that stand the greatest chance of working, and evaluation designs that stand the greatest chance of finding answers rigorously. The conclusions of the paper show the challenges to reach behavioral change and the importance to have realistic expectations on how mobile technology intervention can support this. It highlights the importance of face-to-face engagement to ensure mobile information is trusted, the importance of the sustainability of business models, and the rapidly changing nature of the mobile technology market. In addition, it emphasizes that interventions that improve nutrition are likely to be harder to realize than changing behaviors that will maximize productivity and profit of farmers in agricultural intervention since the benefits are not as obvious.