A new Transform Nutrition discussion paper is now out The impact of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme on the nutritional status of children: 2008–2012. Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) is a large-scale social protection intervention aimed at improving food security and stabilizing asset levels. In this paper, we examine the impact of the PSNP on children’s nutritional status over the period 2008–2012 and these findings, along with work by other researchers, have informed revisions to the PSNP.
John Hoddinott is a co-research director for Transform Nutrition. He is also Deputy Director in the Poverty Health and Nutrition Division of IFPRI
Before joining IFPRI, John held university appointments in Canada and the United Kingdom, including a University Lectureship in Economics and Fellowship at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford. A Canadian citizen, Hoddinott holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Toronto, an M.A. from York University and a D.Phil. in Economics from the University of Oxford.
His principal research interest lies in the microeconometric analysis of issues in development economics. John is especially interested in the causes of poverty, food insecurity and undernutrition, and the design and evaluation of interventions that would reduce these. Much of his current research has focused on the determinants and consequences of human capital formation. This builds on his earlier work on modeling the processes of intra-household resource allocation and on labor markets. John has also had involvement in discussions surrounding aid flows, responses to the 2008 food price crisis and reforms to the global food security architecture such as the Food Aid Convention.
John currently leads a five country study evaluating the impact of food, cash and voucher transfers being conducted for the World Food Program, the evaluation of Ethiopia’s Food Security Programme and is part of a team evaluating South Africa’s Child Support Grant. He was the leader of the recent evaluation of Brazil’s Bolsa Familia cash transfer program and participated in the impact evaluation of PROGRESA. John has been heavily involved in primary data collection through living in a mud hut in western Kenya and a small town near Timbucktu Mali, as well as developing longitudinal and cross-sectional household and community surveys in Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mali, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
On December 5th, 2016, Transform Nutrition Co-Research Director John Hoddinott, gave a seminar on issues surrounding chronic undernutrition in Ethiopia. In addition to reviewing current trends and the factors associated with these, Dr Hoddinott summarized Transform Nutrition research on chronic undernutrition in Ethiopia, conveying key messages and outlining areas requiring attention in the future. The lecture was attended by representatives from civil society organizations, academics, government officials and researchers. His presentation can be viewed here.
A new Transform Nutrition paper Drivers of nutritional change in four South Asian countries: a dynamic observational analysis by Derek Headey, John Hoddinott and Seollee Park is now available. [Read more…]
An IFPRI blog by Kalle Hirvonen From market to mesob: Ensuring access to food is key to improving diets in Ethiopia highlights Transform Nutrition research in Ethiopia. This research finds that in order to improve diets in Ethiopia, policy makers have to ensure that caregivers have both access to nutritious foods and also the knowledge required to demand such foods. .
Chronic undernutrition in Ethiopia is widespread and many children consume highly monotonous diets. To improve feeding practices in Ethiopia, a strong focus in nutrition programming has been placed on improving the nutrition knowledge of caregivers. In this new Transform Nutrition/ Ethiopia Strategy Support Programme working paper Children’s diets, nutrition knowledge, and access to markets , the impact of improving nutrition knowledge within households and its complementarity with market access is considered.
In the past decade, however, Nepal has arguably achieved the fastest recorded decline in child stunting in the world and has done so in the midst of civil war and post-conflict political instability. Given recent interest in reducing undernutrition–particularly the role of nutrition-sensitive policies–this paper funded by Transform Nutrition Understanding the Rapid Reduction of Undernutrition in Nepal, 2001–2011 aims to quantitatively understand this surprising success story by analyzing the 2001, 2006, and 2011 rounds of Nepal’s Demographic Health Surveys.
This Transform Nutrition discussion paper Public-Private Partnerships and the Reduction of Undernutrition in Developing Countries brings structure to the discussion of private-sector engagement in nutrition. It clarifies different models of engagement, reviews the evidence base on public-private partnerships (PPPs) for the reduction of undernutrition, and outlines some potential ways forward.
On September 25th, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For those keenly interested in nutrition – which given the centrality of nutrition to development should mean everyone – this is cause for two cheers, but not three.
The SDG predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals, included the halving of the percentage of underweight children, but not explicit measures of chronic or acute undernutrition. The SDGs rectify this. Goal 2, “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”, includes ending all forms of malnutrition, including, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5. These targets, first mooted by the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons Report in 2013, build on a growing evidence base that demonstrates that undernutrition in the first 1000 days has life-long damaging consequences. For stunting, the target is a 40% reduction by 2025 with 2012 being the base year. If achieved, the number of children chronically undernourished will fall below 100 million.
Goal 2 recognizes the importance of the nutritional needs of several key vulnerable groups, including adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating mothers. Not only are healthy mothers are intrinsically important, healthy mothers are the precursor to healthy children. And the path to healthy motherhood begins in adolescence.
But not three cheers
While there is much to be said for SDG2, there are at least three major concerns. At the top of the list is the issue of commitment and accountability. As the 2015 Global Nutrition Report (GNR) makes clear, not only is commitment to improved nutrition lacking across much of the globe, in many countries there is not even enough data to gauge commitment. When GNR 2015 asked country signatories to the 2013 Global Nutrition for Global Growth compact to report on their progress towards the commitments they had made only 18 months previously, 28 percent were unable to do so. As GNR 2015 notes, nonresponse equals unaccountability. Concerns regarding commitment are also supported by the recently released Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI) which shows that only eight out of 45 countries have a high commitment to tackling hunger and undernutrition and commitment by one third of countries listed – including Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo – is very low.
Second, while the explicit inclusion of the nutritional status of adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women is welcome, neither an indicator nor a numerical target is proposed for these. In an environment where what can gets measured is what gets monitored, there is a real risk that this component of SDG2 will fade away. Lastly, the goals are ambitious. They imply an average annual rate of reduction (AARR) of 3.9 percent. Only 39 countries are currently on track. Ambition can be a spur to action but too much ambition can lead to disillusion and absence of commitment. Ominously, India is not on track and with approximately 40 percent of the global population of chronically undernourished children, failure to meet the goal for stunting reduction in India will make it enormously difficult to push global numbers below 100 million.
This blog is written by John Hoddinott, Babcock Professor of Food and Nutrition Economics and Policy, Cornell university and Research Director, Transform Nutrition
South Asia has long had persistent and unusually high rates of child undernutrition—the so-called Asian enigma. Yet Bangladesh has managed to sustain a rapid reduction in the rate of child undernutrition for at least two decades. How? [Read more…]