In Uganda, subsistence farming by smallholders currently accounts for 96% of all farm production, a quarter of total GDP, employs over two-third of workers, and earns over 40% of household income. The primary focus of Ugandan agricultural policy has been on increasing productivity and commercialization of staple foods and cash crops to raise the income of farmers. At the same time, stunting affects one in three children (over 2.1 million children) in Uganda— higher than its immediate neighbors, some of whom have lower per capita income. Undernutrition disproportionately affects rural areas, where rates of stunting are over 36% compared to 19% in urban areas. When malnutrition strikes children in the first 1,000 days of their lives, it stunts their bodies and minds, impairing human development potential and ultimately, their ability to contribute to the economic growth of their countries in adulthood. The annual costs associated with child undernutrition are estimated at 5.6% of GDP.
Uganda’s Multisectoral Food Security and Nutrition Project (UMFSNP) increases the production and consumption of micronutrient rich foods, including African indigenous vegetables, high-iron beans, and orange-flesh sweet potatoes as well as increase the use of community-based nutrition services in smallholder households in project areas. The focus is on promoting short-term changes in high-impact nutrition behaviors and practices that are known to contribute to the medium- and long-term reduction of stunted growth in young children. UMFSNP distributes start-up materials to increase household production of nutritious foods while implementing targeted nutrition and health education through schools and community-based agriculture extension and health services. The project also supports community-led school demonstration gardens, the education of women’s groups, and the scaling up of micronutrient supplementation.
- World Bank
As of December 2020, UMFSNP has benefitted 1,371,572, surpassing the end-of-project target of 1,140,000, which includes 617,240 women and 317,232 children under two years of age reached through nutrition education and promotion sessions. Because of the project, 104,332 farmers and 16,732 additional hectares have adopted new technologies and 934,472 people have received improved nutrition services and products. Despite this progress, the COVID-19 global pandemic has adversely affected continuation of several project activities, including field and planned procurement activities, organizing regular refresher trainings, community nutrition forums, and processing of impact evaluation endline survey data, in compliance with the GOU’s lockdown directives. Additionally, 104,332 farmers have adopted new technologies, while 16,732 hectares of land now have the new technology being promoted by the project.
UMFSNP has made progress in delivering multi-sectoral nutrition services at primary schools and communities, especially through the key community actors of lead farmers, village health teams, lead mothers, and parent groups. Services include routinely distributing nutrition commodities (e.g., iron-folic acid supplements, anthropometric measurement scales) to communities in 15 project districts, parent groups and students residing in the school catchment areas maintaining school demonstration gardens following established standard operating procedure, and ensuring some limited nutrition education sessions.
The project has also strengthened capacity to deliver nutrition interventions. Prior to the COVID 19 pandemic, massive capacity building training and community refresher training on sector specific nutrition aspects and project specific responsibilities had been provided to around 18,884 key participants at different levels, especially community level key actors (Village Health Teams, Lead Farmers, PG Chairperson, and Lead Mothers). These helped to avoid the vacuum effects of transfers and promotion of staff.
Senior Nutrition Specialist & Task Team Leader
Based in Washington, D.C.
Additional Financing Documents:
Official Project Documents:
- GAFSP Proposal
- Cover Letter
- Endorsements from the Country and the Supervising Entity
- CAADP Compact
- Agriculture and Food Strategy and Investment Plan (supporting document: Nutrition Action Plan)
- Technical Peer Review Document