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DFID launches Nutrition Strategy

The Department for International Development (DFID) UK has just launched its new Nutrition Strategy (March 2010). This 20 page document sets out a range of immediate and longer-term measures to reach pregnant women and children under the age of two years in countries with the highest burden of undernutrition. Described as the "critical first 1,000 days from conception", this period is considered the key window in which malnutrition has to be tackled.

DFID will invest in direct interventions known to achieve high impact at low cost, e.g. breastfeeding support, micronutrient supplementation, as well as indirect interventions which tackle underlying causes. Specific attention will be paid to gender equality. The strategy is founded on core guiding principles and has four strategic objectives:

The framework for action is described according to 5 objectives:

Objective 1: Building international support, co-ordination and coherence for action on nutrition globally

Objective 2: Identifying partners, building support and scaling up programmes in partner countries

Objective 3: Ensuring our investments in multiple sectors deliver improved nutrition

Objective 4: Building evidence, demonstrating results

Objective 5: Delivering the strategy

Described under Objective 3, support to emergencies will include investment in increasing capacity for nutrition in countries prone to emergencies. DIFD commit to allocating at least 50% of all new bilateral aid to fragile and conflict affected states and investing 10% of humanitarian response funding in helping to prepare for future crises.

DFID will continue to invest in strengthening the evidence base for humanitarian action, improving coherence in needs assessment initiatives and improving integration of information to benefit consistency and quality. Support to UNICEF to implement the Nutrition Information Project for the Horn of Africa will continue. DFID will also support efforts to include nutritional measurements in food security information systems where they exist, including feeding this information into the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification. DFID will promote improved methods for measuring and monitoring nutritional outcomes, through support to NGOs on evidence and needs assessment during humanitarian response. DFID will support to UNICEF as nutrition cluster lead snd an effective channel for good quality information.

DFID will work with the European Commission (DG ECHO) to ensure that, in emergencies, direct and indirect responses to acute undernutrition are prioritised, and that more nutrition needs are met. DFID will support humanitarian actors to prevent acute undernutrition and achieve Sphere minimum standards for programme coverage. DFID will continue to support WFP to strengthen the nutritional impact of its food assistance and help UNICEF and the nutrition cluster to fill any critical gaps in the nutrition response, such as infant and young child feeding support for women and young children.

Because chronic undernutrition is often very high preceding an emergency, response to the acute situation must maximise impacts on stunting. DFID will seek to make certain that approaches for tackling the chronic problem are strengthened as a result of the humanitarian response through building better connections with longer term development work.

DFID will monitor the implementation of this strategy on an annual basis and boost the organisation's own capacity to deliver it.

For more information and to access the Nutrition Strategy, visit: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/nutrition

Show footnotes

1Dibari. F and Tondeur. M (2010). What is the bioavailability of micronutrients form RUTFs in children affected by SAM. Brainstorming workshop Report. 18th January 2010.

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DFID launches Nutrition Strategy. Field Exchange 38, April 2010. p20. www.ennonline.net/fex/38/dfid

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