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December 4th, 2018

Intra-household dynamics and dietary diversity

Published by SNV, CDI, KIT, SDC,

This technical paper (PDF) by SNV, the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation, part of WUR (CDI), Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), summarises key findings and lessons learnt from applying an intra-household dynamics lens to nutrition. The paper focuses on unpacking how intra-household dynamics shape the links between production and consumption and how these dynamics affect the nutritional status of household members. Even though women play a key role in care practices and also as mothers, women do not always have the resources and decision making influence to perform these roles effectively. The results highlight the importance of longer-time frame and value of targeting different household members to change deeply entrenched norms which impact women’s decision making around what food is prepared. Furthermore, it is evident that access to and control over resources, and decisions made by certain members influence the distribution of food for the whole family. The paper comes with six recommendations for policy makers and governments: 1) Ensure that gender analysis informs the scope of nutrition programming within a given context. 2) Invest in testing and piloting of what Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) messages and implementation modalities work best with different household members to motivate positive change. Priority could be given to to approaches with schools to engage both boys and girls. 3) Invest in strategies to reach and motivate men. Engaging support from local political leaders could serve as male role models. 4) Invest in more research and learning in nutrition programmes to better understand the gender dynamics around the agriculture nutrition pathways. 5) Ensure routine M&E includes a component promoting regular learning and reflection on changing intra-household dynamics, and 6) Support capacity building of front-line staff and addressing intra-household dynamics.

A summary version with the policy recommendations can be found here.

Curated from snv.org