Improving Nutrition Outcomes through Optimized Agricultural Investments – ATONU

Improving Nutrition Outcomes through Optimized Agricultural Investments – ATONU

The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) have announced their new regional initiative which focuses on how agricultural programs can achieve positive nutrition outcomes. Their new initiative ATONU will launch at the 6th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security on the 28th October in Kampala, Uganda.

The initiative is being led by FANRPAN which is a South African Based group with a mandate to promote Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources policies across Africa. They enable links and partnerships between governments and society to create policy dialogue and analysis in Africa.  FANRPAN is working with its consortium partners to implement the ATONU project with support from a $16 million grant awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda – FANRPAN CEO and ATONU Project Director said: “the grant award will help close the gap between the agriculture and nutrition communities who have to work together and bring to bear what agriculture can do for nutrition in farm families”.

The project will last over a 6 year period ending in December 2020 with a focus on Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and Uganda. Within these countries, ATONU will try and break the intergenerational cycle of under-nutrition while improving nutrition for smallholder farm families and poor households using agriculture programs. To achieve this, the project will target development practitioners, women’s organizations and farm families, national line ministries and the financiers of agricultural projects.

The ATONU project will have a large emphasis on women’s empowerment so that women can make decisions on what to grow, sell and how to spend income. In turn, this will allow children’s education, health and nutrition to improve. There will be a key focus on the nutrition of women and children in the first 1000 days after conception. There has been a commitment by the African Union under the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated African Agricultural Growth and Development to reduce child stunting to 10% and wasting to 5% over the next 10 years. It is hoped this project will allow these figures to become a reality by improving nutrition. The emphasis ATONU has on women works alongside the 6th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security 2015 as this year’s theme is Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063.

ATONU will be implemented over three phases. Phase 1 will involve finding common ground over one and a half years and testing frameworks and tools. After this, Phase 2 will deepen engagement, provide technical assistance and begin evaluating progress so that in Phase 3, the last year of the project, there should be a consolidation of the project footprint. The three phases of intervention will address the variety of social, cultural and environmental contexts found in African Culture.

ATONU led by FANRPAN is supported by its consortium partners:  Natural Resources Institute (NRI); Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH)/London School, Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM); Agribusiness Systems International (ASI); Farm Africa; Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) and Africa Innovations Institute (AfrII).

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