Nutrition Resilience – Policy Brief

Background and Objectives

Across all sectors, there is a concerted effort to develop the resilience of communities in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya, East Africa, and the Sahel. Although the concept of resilience is much debated, a consensus has not yet been reached on the precise meaning of resilience and what it means for interventions in these areas. Much of the focus of these debates and resilience interventions have focused on the livelihoods and food security sector. Therefore the role of nutrition in the resilience concept and related interventions is far from clear. At the same time, the Kenya Nutrition Sector has been focusing on developing a more holistic and coherent approach to nutrition programming through an increased emphasis on nutrition-sensitive programming and developing the links with nutrition-specific programming more effectively. Nutrition sensitive programming involves the incorporation of nutrition objectives and indicators into allied sectors’ policies, strategies, and interventions. This policy brief aims to provide some recommendations on what, who and how nutrition and other sectors could contribute to nutrition resilience. It is suggested below that many aspects of developing nutrition sensitive approaches, effective links to nutrition-specific programming and nutrition resilience programming are the same. Therefore, conclusions drawn address the three objectives of becoming more nutrition-sensitive across sectors, linking to nutrition-specific approaches and at the same time making nutrition-related programming more resilience friendly. In the past, cross-sectoral coherence and integration have proven to be elusive goals for the humanitarian and development aid stakeholders. Therefore, this paper has taken a pragmatic approach to identify a limited number of areas and “low hanging fruit” where both nutrition sensitivity, specificity and nutrition resilience might be initially focused.

Policy Conclusions And Recommendations.

1. Nutrition Resilience is the concept that good nutrition results in a more resilient person or household and Resilience for Nutrition is the concept that a resilient person or household results in good nutrition. Interventions to positively influence both concepts to consist of using a tri track approach.

2. Nutrition resilience is developed through a tri-track approach to tackle chronic and acute nutrition deprivation:

• Track One Foundational – Programme interventions to address chronic nutrition deprivation develop a coherent cross-sectoral nutrition-specific and sensitive approach to create a foundation for nutrition resilience.

• Track Two Reliability – Programme interventions to address acute nutrition deprivation develop a risk-sensitive approach to absorb, adapt and transform in response to covariate shocks.

• Track Three Emergency – Interventions are used to address extraordinary shocks.

3. It is recommended that Nutrition-Sensitive Resilience Programmes focus on two theme areas;

• Dietary Diversity for infants 6-23 months infants and women

• Nutrition-Sensitive Women’s Empowerment in particular women’s workload.

4. Measurement of Nutrition Resilience is possible at two levels:

• Impact Measurement. Recommended using stunting as a start and endpoint impact resilience indicator and variability of wasting trends as a regular resilience impact indicator.

• Outcome Measurement. Recommended incorporating more nutrition-sensitive outcome objectives and indicators into interventions of sectors allied to nutrition.

5. Acute Nutrition Deprivation Measurement. Recommended developing indicators that monitor the trends of nutrition outcomes and their variability in response to covariate shocks.