Nick Mays (LSHTM)
Jody is currently studying for a PhD at SOAS alongside her work at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) where she undertakes research on agriculture-nutrition-health linkages. Jody is also a member of the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH) at the London International Development Centre, where she is hosted during her PhD. Before joining IFPRI, Jody was a research assistant at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, working on a systematic review of eating behaviour; a consultant to UNHCR with University College London, designing monitoring and evaluation systems for the use of novel foods in refugee camps; and worked in several country programmes with Action Against Hunger, designing HIV nutrition programmes and managing operations research. Jody has worked in various development contexts, including urban Zambia; rural Uganda; pastoralist Kenya; and refugee camps in Bangladesh
Due to the predominance of direct interventions in nutrition for development, the health sector tends to ‘own’ nutrition, with interventions often implemented through health programs.That the agriculture sector should also be a vehicle for improved nutrition appears intuitive; agriculture as it is practiced today has the potential to improve nutrition through the production of food for consumption or income, through modulation of food prices and of the quality of foods available, and through general agricultural and economic growth. But this sector often delivers neither good nutrition nor food security to the most vulnerable in the population, due to a focus on production of quantity rather than quality nutrition outcomes, and reliance on national-level indicators of food sufficiency rather than issues of access and diet quality.
With some notable exceptions, the underlying determinants of malnutrition are normally tackled separately by different sectors (particularly the agriculture and health sectors), with programmes derived from completely separate institutions (be they government ministries or non-governmental organizations) with separate resources, frameworks and approaches at the basic level. Coordination between these sectors is a potentially potent mechanism for addressing the multi-dimensional causes of undernutrition, but there has been little serious research on how multi-sectoral solutions are best implemented or institutionalized.
The Realigning Agriculture for Improved Nutrition (RAIN) project is a partnership between Concern Worldwide and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), aiming to design, implement and evaluate a model of multi-sectoral integration to improve stunting rates in one district of Zambia, and to document evidence of both impact and process for application in other contexts and at scale. The project comprises two elements: An evaluation of a district-level agricultural extension intervention, with and without an additional nutrition education element; and development and evaluation of a model to facilitate the alignment of government ministries and other actors in the agriculture and health sectors around nutrition objectives. Research for this PhD will be undertaken as a specific piece of operations research within the overall RAIN project, documenting and evaluating the process of institutional alignment and drawing policy and operational lessons.