EU Programme to “Accelerate Progress Towards Millennium Development Goal 1C“ (MDG1.C Programme) in Mozambique (2013-2021).
Despite its economic performance, Mozambique’s nutrition situation remains poor: stunting (43%) as well as women and child anaemia are very high, while overweight and obesity is increasing. The causes of malnutrition are multi-faceted. The estimated GDP loss is 11% each year due to child stunting alone, equivalent to $1.6 billion. The MDG1.C Programme aimed to address the prevailing high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition, particularly in rural areas.
The overall objective of the MDG1.C Programme was to halve the proportion of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition in Mozambique. By targeting areas with high agricultural potential but poor nutrition, the specific objectives of the MDG1.C Programme are to: (i) improve agricultural and fisheries production (food availability); (ii) increase access to food; and, (iii) enhance the nutrition status of vulnerable groups and low-income households, with a focus on women and young children.
The MDG1.C Programme contributed particularly to the implementation of SDG 2 by addressing the main determinants of food security and nutrition, such as: • food availability, as the “supply side” of food security; • food access, as the physical and economic ability at household and individual level to acquire a sufficient quantity of food; • food utilization, as the nutritional and safety aspects of food intake; • food stability, stressing that food must be available, accessible, affordable and properly utilized on a continuous, long-term basis.
The Programme was implemented by the three Rome-Based Agencies of the United Nations FAO, IFAD and WFP) under the coordination of the Mozambican Technical Secretariat for Food and Nutrition Security – SETSAN. The Programme was addressing multiple drivers of hunger and malnutrition. The interventions included agricultural and fisheries value chains strengthening, e-vouchers, home gardens, food fortification, market information systems, nutrition education and social behaviour change. Activities enhancing agricultural and fisheries productions focused on improving production of smallholder farmers and fishermen by a better access to inputs and extension services, reducing post-harvest losses, promoting home gardens for women, as well as vaccination of chickens (whose mortality rate was alarming). Supports seeking to improve linkages with markets or buyers invested in small-scale infrastructure including storage, roads and electrification for markets, as well as capacity building through support to farmers’ organizations. Input-output trading was also supported, as well as access to finance through small-scale loan schemes. Nutrition interventions have been introduced as a complement in all these activities. The WFP mainly led the nutrition related activities: • Strengthening of the national fortification programme (starting with wheat flour and oils, and extending to maize flour, cassava flour, sugar, fortified porridge), including the development of a local corn-soy blend product for supplementing diets. • Supporting the set-up of the multi-sector programme on malnutrition in Manica province. A component focussing on women and children targeted setting-up of home gardens and nutritional education for adults and children. • In addition, a research activity compared the cost-effectiveness of three approaches to reducing chronic malnutrition. Access to clean water and sanitation was a fundamental aspect influencing nutritional status of the population. Although no additional investment was planned by the programme, coordination with the multiple partners working in this area was undertaken ensuring the necessary complementarities and synergies.
The programme’s interventions have generated significant improvements on agricultural and fishery production, nutrition knowledge and to some extent on health and nutrition practices, among beneficiaries. 80,000 beneficiaries’ lives improved considerably in terms of food security, diets (including of women and adolescent girls) and nutritional status of children, as compared to control groups. In particular, the prevalence of stunting fell by five percentage points at district level and exclusive breastfeeding doubled over a period of five years. The main results of the programme included: 1) Enhanced agricultural and fisheries productions; 2) Improved access to food; 3) Improved nutritional status of vulnerable groups, in particular women and children.
Success factors included: • Holistic package tackling multiple causes: Gains in food and nutrition security were much greater for those households reached by the most comprehensive range of interventions. • Community-based delivery of services through networks of local workers (both female and male) who were more trusted and efficient in reaching not only mothers but other influential people (family members, local leaders). • Culturally sensitive nutrition messages based on in-depth formative research, including traditional knowledge and participatory elaboration of education materials.
Some best practices, including social behaviour change and nutrition education in schools, were incorporated into national food and nutrition security policies and programmes. Lessons learned also informed the 2014-2020 EU rural development strategy in Mozambique maintaining a key focus on food and nutrition security and targeting nutrition sensitive investments in high-stunting provinces, through both long-term approaches and post-cyclones recovery and resilience programmes. There are lessons to be learned from achieving such a multi-sectoral approach at scale: • It is critical to include nutrition objectives into agriculture/market-based interventions from the outset at design stage; and • The programme must adapt to different and specific contexts, at the same time strengthening local nutrition governance and developing the capacities of service providers at every level.
Supporting countries to adopt an integrated approach to preventing and tackling hunger and all forms of malnutrition is even more important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic whereby the disruptions associated with policy response threaten to undermine recent progress made whether in terms of poverty, food security, quality of diets and ultimately nutritional status. A comprehensive, multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral approach to nutrition should be further strengthened in COVID-19 joint response and recovery efforts - especially actions across health, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, social protection and food systems. Improving the quality of diets, in particular through dietary diversification – which may be complemented by supplementation and food fortification, is crucial to tackle micronutrient deficiencies and to strengthen people’s immune system.
SDGS & Targets
Deliverables & Timeline
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The MDG1.C Programme was implemented in Mozambique at sub-national level targeting areas with high agricultural potential but poor nutrition in Beira and Nacala corridors, in 76 districts covering 10 provinces.