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Tropentag, September 20 - 22, 2017 in Bonn

"Future Agriculture: Social-ecological transitions and bio-cultural shifts"

Delivery of Nutrition Education through Agricultural Extension: Evidence from a Randomised Trial in Rural Kenya

Andrea Fongar1, Theda Goedecke1, Davis Muthini2, Antony Aseta3, Matin Qaim1

1University of Goettingen, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Germany
2University of Nairobi, Kenya
3Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International, Kenya


The relationship of nutrition and agriculture has long been established and agricultural technologies and extension can play an important role in stabilising food security. However, agricultural and nutritional programs are mostly implemented independently. Acceptance of nutrition education on specific topics and agricultural extension has shown positive effects by itself, but to our knowledge has not been tested in a merged setting. Therefore, the present study wants to test the effectiveness of nutrition education, when delivered through agricultural extension.

A one-year intervention introduced nutrition education within an agricultural program, which introduced pro-nutrition innovations. Unit of intervention were existing common-interest groups (CIG's) in two counties in Kenya. In a multi-stage sampling strategy, 48 CIG's were randomly sampled. In the next stage 20 members of each group were interviewed. For the intervention a randomised control trail design was introduced and CIG's were randomly assigned into treatment (24) and control (24) groups. Treatments included agricultural training on two nutrition-sensitive technologies and a combination of nutrition education covering 'introduction of nutrients', 'nutrition during different life cycles and health'. At baseline in late 2015, 809 households were interviewed about their dietary behaviour. Anthropometric data was collected for two adults and a child between six to 59 month of age of each household, as well as nutrition knowledge. Follow-up data on the same household was collected in late 2016.

At baseline, dietary diversity of the households depict usage of nine food groups and energy intake was 3243 kcal per day and adult equivalent. At individual level energy and food group consumption was slightly lower. At baseline no significant differences between the two groups were found concerning dietary diversity, dietary quality and anthropometric measures, expect at individual dietary diversity (IDD) and Body mass index (BMI) measures (IDD t(1024)=2.57, p=0.0115; BMI t(1042)=3.12, p=0.000). Next step is to analyse difference between our two data round to test the effectiveness of the nutrition education intervention. We test the effects of nutrition training on nutrition knowledge, indicators of dietary quality at different levels, as well as anthropometric measures.

Keywords: Agricultural extension, dietary diversity, Kenya, nutrition education, RCT

Contact Address: Andrea Fongar, University of Goettingen, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Heinrich-Dueker-Weg 12, 37073 Goettingen, Germany, e-mail: afongar@uni-goettingen.de

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