Participatory farm diversification and nutrition education increase dietary diversity in Western Kenya

Our study assessed the effectiveness of a community-based participatory approach in increasing micronutrient adequacy of diets of women and young children through agricultural activities and nutrition education in Vihiga County, Western Kenya. Outcome indicators include the mean dietary diversity score (DDS), the percentage of women and children reaching minimum dietary diversity (MDD), and micronutrient adequacy (mean adequacy ratio). The project consisted of(a) a diagnostic survey covering agrobiodiversity and nutrition, (b) participatory development of activities to improve nutrition, (c) a baseline survey covering dietary intakes, (d) participatory implementation of the developed activities, and (e) an endline survey covering dietary intakes. The diagnostic survey was conducted in 10 sublocations of Vihiga County, which were pair-matched and split into five intervention and five control sublocations. The intervention sublocations developed activities towards improving nutrition. Before implementation, a baseline survey collected the dietary intake data of 330 women–child pairs in the intervention and control sublocations. To support the activities, communities received agriculture and nutrition training. After 1 year of implementation, an endline survey collected dietary intake data from 444 women–child pairs in the intervention and control sublocations. Impact was assessed using the difference-in-difference technique. Highly significant positive impacts on children's mean DDS (treatment effect = 0.7, p < 0.001) and on the share of children reaching MDD (treatment effect = 0.2, p < 0.001) were shown. Higher dietary diversity can be explained by the development of subsistence and income-generating pathways and increased nutrition knowledge. Participatory farm diversification and nutrition education were shown to significantly increase dietary diversity of young children in Western Kenya.

Boedecker, J.; Odhiambo Odour, F.; Lachat, C.; Van Damme, P.; Kennedy, G.; Termote, C.

Maternal and Child Nutrition e12803

12 p.
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