Menu ENN Search

Effects of agricultural and nutrition education projects on child health in Malawi

Summary of published research1

Margaret Shonga, participating farmer, her husband Donald Gondwe and their baby, standing in a field of sorghum

A recent study set out to investigate whether children in households involved in a participatory agriculture and nutrition intervention had improved growth compared to children in matched comparable households. The study also explored whether the level of involvement and length of time in the project had an effect on child growth.

The Soils, Food and Healthy Communities project (SFHC) was initiated by Ekwendeni Hospital and aimed to improve child nutritional status amongst smallholder farmers in a rural area in northern Malawi. In villages surrounding Ekwendeni, a town in Mzimba district, over half of the smallholder families experience food insecurity every year. Malaria is endemic and child malnutrition rates are similar to the national average at 48%. Agricultural interventions involved intercropping legumes and visits from farmer researchers, while nutrition education involved home visits and group meetings.

Esnai Ngwira, participating farmer, and her children, standing beside her maize field grown after legume residue buried into the ground

The study employed a prospective quasi-experimental approach comparing baseline and follow up data in intervention villages with matched subjects in comparison villages. Mixed model analyses were conducted on standardised child growth scores (weight- and height-for-age Zscores), controlling for child age and testing for effects of length of time and intensity of village involvement in the intervention.

Participants in intervention villages were self-selected and control participants were matched by age and household food security status of the child. Over a six year period, nine surveys were conducted taking 3,838 height and weight measures of children under the age of 3 years.

The study found that there was an improvement over initial conditions of up to 0.6 in weight-for-age (WAZ) Z-score (WAZ: from -0.4 (sd 0.5) to 0.3 (sd 0.4)) for children in the longest involved villages, and an improvement over initial conditions of 0.8 in WAZ for children in the most intensely involved villages (from -0.6 (sd 0.4) to 0.2 (sd 0.4)).

The authors conclude that longterm efforts to improve child nutrition through participatory agricultural interventions had a significant effect on child growth.

Show footnotes

1IASC Global Health Cluster (2011). Civil-military coordination during humanitarian health action. Provisional version – February 2011

2Bezner Kerr R, Berti P and Shumba L (2011). Effects of a participatory agriculture and nutrition education project on child growth in northern Malawi. Public Health Nutrition 14 (8), 1466-1472

More like this

FEX: Effect of a community-led sanitation intervention on child diarrhoea and child growth in rural Mali

Summary of research1 Location: Mali What we know: Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) is being scaled up, but there is limited evidence on child health impacts. What this...

FEX: Effect of adding RUSF to ageneral food distribution on child nutritional status and morbidity: a cluster randomised controlled trial

Summary of research1 Child during appetite test at a health facility offering treatment in Monrovia, Liberia The authors of a recent study hypothesized that including a daily...

FEX: Evaluation of an integrated health-nutrition-WASH project to reduce malnutrition prevalence in children under two in Bangladesh

By Monsurul Hoq and John Brogan Monsurul Hoq was working as a Statistician Epidemiologist during the study. He has experience in monitoring and evaluation of community-based...

FEX: Severe malnutrition in infants under six months old: outcomes and risk factors in Bangladesh

Summary of research1 Location: Bangladesh What we know: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that infants under six months with uncomplicated severe acute...

FEX: Impact of livestock support on animal milksupply and child nutrition in Ethiopia

Summary by Kate Sadler and Emily Mitchard Dry riverbed in Shinile Kate Sadler is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the Feinstein International Centre, Tufts University...

FEX: Nutritional Status of HIV+ Pre-School Children in South Africa

Summary of unpublished research Nursing health professional doing clinical investigation at Livningstone Hospital By Liana Steenkamp, Dr Jill von der Marwitz, and Charlene...

FEX: Diluted F100 v infant formula in treatment of severely malnourished infants < 6 months

By Caroline Wilkinson and Sheila Isanaka Caroline Wilkinson was Nutrition Advisor with Action Contre la Faim - France (ACF-F), until November 2008. She spent most of 2007 in...

FEX: Realising rights and livelihoods opportunities among tribal populations in rural India

By Salome Yesudas View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici Salome Yesudas works as a consultant with several organisations on local food systems...

FEX: Community-based management of severe malnutrition: SAM and SUW in children under five in the Melghat tribal area, central India

By Dr Vibhavari Dani, Dr Ashish Satav, Mrs Jayashri Pendharkar, Dr Kavita Satav, Dr Ajay Sadanshiv, Dr Ambadas S Adhav and Dr Bharat S Thakare Dr. Vibhavari Dani is a...

FEX: Impact of an integrated agriculture and nutrition and health behaviour change communication programme for women in Burkina Faso

Summary of research1 Location: Burkina Faso What we know: The agricultural sector has great potential to contribute to improving nutrition.; However, current evidence of...

FEX: Cash transfers and child nutrition

Summary of research1 Location: Global What we know: Cash transfer (CT) programming is an expanding form of social protection that has potential to improve child...

FEX: MUAC vs WHZ in predicting mortality in hospitalised children under five years of age

Summary of research1 This research contributes to the evidence base regarding which anthropometric indicators identify malnourished sick children most at risk of death. Low...

FEX: Nutrition in Commercial Farms Finding the right plaster for the wound

by Leslie Adams (Provincial Nutritionist in the Ministry of Health in Mashonaland Central, Zimbabwe). Children living in Large Scale Commercial Farms in Zimbabwe, most of...

FEX: Improving screening for malnourished children at high risk of death

Research snapshot1 The purpose of this study was to investigate whether children with concurrent wasting and stunting (WaSt) require therapeutic feeding and to better...

FEX: Growth faltering in rural Gambian children after four decades of interventions: a retrospective cohort study

Summary of Research1 Nabwera HM, Fulford AJ, Moore SE and Prentice AM. (2017). Growth faltering in rural Gambian children after four decades of interventions: a retrospective...

en-net: What is the lowest WAZ score that would be "compatible with human life

Hello, I am passing on a question from a colleague. I am keeping his wording: "What is the lowest WAZ score that would be "compatible with human life"? I know that Epi-Info...

en-net: Oxfam Novib is looking for a Gender and Nutrition research consultant

- Consultancy for research on the role of women and gender review of FFS curriculum -

1. Background and rationale

The ‘Sowing Diversity=Harvesting...

en-net: % of Stunting prevelence or Mean WHZ score

Hi, We are developing one programme one nutrition sensitive social protection programme on maternity cash transfer with intensive behaviour change communication. Below were...

en-net: interpreting weight for height standard deviation from ENA plausibility check

When conducting a SMART survey; after running the plausibility check using ENA you realise that the weight for height standard deviation of some teams' data is close to...

FEX: WHO Growth Standards to assess Indonesian children < 2 years

Summary of published research1 A recent study set out to assess the implications of adopting the WHO Child Growth Standards to classify Indonesian children according to...

Close

Reference this page

Effects of agricultural and nutrition education projects on child health in Malawi. Field Exchange 42, January 2012. p20. www.ennonline.net/fex/42/malawi

(ENN_4246)

Close

Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.