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Current Nutrition Capacity within Agriculture, Nutrition, and Health Research for Development in Africa: Results and Assessment of Future Opportunities Prepared for: CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) Led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Prepared by: Linley Chiwona-Karltun and Murat Sartas Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development P.O. Box 7012, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden www.slu.se
TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES ......................................................................................................................................... i LIST OF FIGURES ....................................................................................................................................... i PREFACE ...................................................................................................................................................ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ...........................................................................................................................iii ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS .......................................................................................................... iv EXECUTIVE SUMMARY..............................................................................................................................v CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................... 1 CHAPTER 2. METHODS ........................................................................................................................... 2 CHAPTER 3. ANALYSIS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR COLLABORATIONS ...................................................... 3 Identification of impact pathways from survey responses ................................................................. 3 Research Actors in ANH Research in Africa ......................................................................................... 5 Capacity Building Actors in ANH Research in Africa ............................................................................ 7 Entry points for improved ANH research in Africa ............................................................................ 10 CHAPTER 4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ....................................................................... 14 Research Topics ................................................................................................................................. 14 Capacity building of ANH Actors in Africa ......................................................................................... 15 ANNEXES................................................................................................................................................ 16
LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Countries in Africa where survey respondents reported working ............................................ 5 Table 2. Global Actors in ANH research in Africa where respondents were engaged ............................ 6 Table 4 Local organizations working in ANH research in Africa ............................................................ 7 Table 5 African universities where respondents earned their most recent degrees ............................. 8 Table 6 African universities where respondents earned their degrees overall ..................................... 9
LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6
Typology of actors used in the report ...................................................................................... 2 Theories of change linking agriculture to nutrition and health outcomes ............................... 4 Representation of survey respondents across five sub regions of Africa ................................ 5 Sub region in Africa where respondents reported receiving university degrees .................... 9 Distribution of reported ANH research topics conducted since 2000 in Africa ..................... 11 Most important issues reported by respondents for improving ANH research .................... 13
PREFACE This document reports on a study of actors, institutions and individuals working on issues connecting agriculture-nutrition in Africa as well as possible entry points for the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) for engaging in agriculture, nutrition, and health research in Africa. The purpose of the study was to create a profile of the respondents in relation to their training, capacities and experience in nutrition research, with a special focus on the synergies between agriculture nutrition and health. Using various conceptual frameworks published and unpublished, as well as those presented at the CGIAR Bonn Science Week 2013, a framework was developed to identify the key terminologies that best described an agriculture, nutrition and health linkage. In order to simplify the framework, three levels were identified with Nutrition Status and Health Status as the ultimate outcomes. The results are deemed valuable for creating an inventory of researchers and organizations in Africa that can potentially collaborate with A4NH. Furthermore, actors working with nutrition and interested in partnering or collaborating with other actors, may find the results useful for stabling new initiatives or strengthening on-going initiatives. The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences was commissioned by A4NH to undertake this study.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors would like to thank all the respondents that took the time to respond to the survey questions, particularly those that spared the time for both surveys. We also wish to express our sincere gratitude to all those that helped us to arrange for the face to face interviews; Dr Solomon Gebreyohannis and Mr Tegbaru Bellete in Ethiopia, Dr David Mkwambisi in Malawi, Dr Esi Colecraft in Ghana and to the many key-informants that participated in the interviews. Appreciation is extended to the CGIAR partners focusing on nutrition; Dr Delia Grace and Dr Thomas Randolph (ILRI), Dr Bussie Maziya Dixon (IITA) and Dr Katja Khelenbeck (ICRAF). We managed to reach a wide geographical area with the survey because of committed Africans; particularly we thank Dr Lindiwe Sibanda, Dr Aissetou Yaye and Dr Francis Zotor. The availability of electronic networks particularly PAEPARD, EFARD, ANAFE, FARA contributed immensely to the survey being able to reach so many. We are indebted to Mr Francois Stepman for his commitment in keeping the PAEPARD e-network vibrant because we are still getting responses! Although the findings of this document are in the name of A4NH, the authors take full responsibility for any errors or misrepresentations. However, we are truly grateful to the A4NH team, especially the Program Director Dr John McDermott, Charlotte Block and Tigist Defabachew for their enduring support.
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS A4NH ANH ANS ASARECA BecA CAADP CGIAR IFPRI FANRPAN FARA NEPAD PAEPARD RAC SLU ToC
Agriculture for Nutrition and Health Agriculture-nutrition-health African Nutrition Society Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa Biosciences eastern and central Africa Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research International Food Policy Research Institute Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Policy Analysis Network Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa New Partnership for Africa’s Development Platform for African European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development Reaching Agents of Change Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Theory of Change
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is designed to maximize the health and nutritional benefits of agricultural development. A4NH is committed to conducting research that can have greater impact through support of key development actors and by building the capacity of research and development institutions and actors in lowincome countries. Recognizing that this will require the development of new partnerships between the agriculture, nutrition and health sectors, A4NH commissioned the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) to conduct an assessment of current agriculture-nutrition research capacity in Africa. There were four specific aims of the survey: • • • •
To provide an overview of the current individual nutritional expertise available in Africa To describe the existing nutrition research being undertaken To identify the gaps emphasized for linking agricultural research with nutrition and health outcomes To delineate activities with home-grown African partners for a future agenda on agriculture for nutrition and health outcomes
Professional networks, namely, LinkedIn, Research Gate, Google groups, communities of practice and professional societies were utilised for viral communication of the survey. In particular, email list serves with a focus on agriculture research for development, such as PAEPARD (Platform for African European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development) were also used for the dissemination of the survey link. Two online surveys and multiple key informant interviews in Africa, Europe and the USA were undertaken in order to identify and analyse current and potential future nutrition capacity and research within agriculture-nutrition research in Africa. The surveys investigated the research landscape by focusing on the following components: - The actors in agriculture-nutrition research, i.e., individuals, organizations, regional initiatives including networks - Agriculture-nutrition and health interventions and research since 2000, i.e., subjects, projects and programmes - Enabling environment for an agriculture-nutrition-health landscape Responses to the survey came mostly from countries in East Africa, with Kenya in the lead. West Africa, spearheaded by Nigeria and Southern Africa, constituted a second group, while, North Africa and Central Africa comprised the fewest responses. Only Kenya had more than one leading institution, indicating that agriculture-nutrition seems to be organised around a country champion. Similarly, most of the academic degrees in nutrition attained from African universities were completed in Kenya, followed by Nigeria and Tanzania. More than 36 regional initiatives and networks were identified in the survey with the most common responses including the African Nutrition Society (ANS), Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa v
(ASARECA), Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA), Food Tank, PAEPARD and the Reaching Agents of Change (RAC) Project. Respondents mentioned more than 154 different organisations with whom they are currently working. A total of 18 global nutrition research actors engaged in research related to agriculture-nutrition in Africa. Most of these were CGIAR institutions, notably IITA and ILRI, followed by Bioversity International, CIMMYT, CIP and CIAT. Entities outside the CGIAR, which were mentioned included, Feed the Future, FAO, World Vision and Wageningen University. The research topics and activities respondents reported conducting since 2000 largely focused on food consumption studies, measuring nutrient intake, food safety, plant breeding, adoption and diffusion of plant innovations, and food availability. Respondents also reported on skills that they found to be important, but lacking in their current work. These included research design (23% indicating this was important), as well as communication of their research. Scientific communication, especially publication of studies was very low among the African respondents. Factors such as gender, age, continuing education and policy were highlighted as being important factors also affecting the ultimate outcome of nutrition and health in the impact pathway. Respondents painstakingly pointed out, particularly during the interviews, that nutrition capacities of individuals, actors and institutions were easily compromised due to salaries, especially in government institutions, not commiserating with the true purchasing power parity. The survey also underscored the importance of African actors being equipped and capable of designing and determining their research priorities. While collaboration was deemed crucial, the inability to lead also meant that communicating research outcomes in policy circles was lacking precisely if the aim was to affect change. In conclusion, the survey gives an overview of what and how actors and institutions are working with agriculture, nutrition, and health research in Africa. Given the various channels that were utilised for disseminating the survey and the fairly large number of respondents (164 at time of analysis); it is prudent to suggest that the findings reflect the current state of affairs. The survey findings and recommendations can be summarised into three parts 1) research topics 2) capacity strengthening and 3) opportunities for collaboration. Research Topics •
Actors and institutions in Africa are actively engaged in studies related to food consumption, measuring nutrient intake, food processing, food safety, agricultural-associated diseases, maternal childcare, agricultural practices and food availability. Respondents did not engage in research on health status and household income. As indicated by the interviews, one major reason for not engaging in health status and household income research projects might be that health and economics may have been regarded to be very distinct subjects. Food science however, was vi
regarded as an integral part of the discussion in agriculture, nutrition, and health research. Therefore, an important intervention area for A4NH is to encourage and to involve health scientists and economists, and to ensure the incorporation of the health and economics perspectives in the designed interventions. Actors and institutions in Africa desire more focus on issues that go beyond the issues identified above, specifically environmental factors, non-communicable diseases, gender, age and policy communication and how they can contribute to nutrition and health outcomes. Increased support in areas of capabilities for identifying issues and the leading of research by African actors and institutions would enhance the contribution of African expertise to understanding and addressing agriculture related nutrition and health issues. There is a risk that the strong institutions (East Africa) attract and get support and inclusion in research programmes at the cost of the weaker regions (Central and North Africa). Engaging with the weaker areas would contribute towards increasing capacities and capabilities of actors and institutions.
Capacity Strengthening •
• • •
Regional and country level heterogeneities exist with East Africa being betterendowed actor wise and institutionally while Central and Northern Africa are disadvantaged. Country champions exist within the area of agriculture, nutrition, and health interventions, but are quite decentralised with low critical mass. Actors indicated strongly the need for strengthening capacities in research design as well as problem identification to determine relevant research priorities. Scientific communication particularly of research outcomes in policy circles and locally were key issues regarded as critical for successful interventions aimed at improving agriculture, nutrition, health in Africa. Networks and nutrition societies exist, albeit they are weak, some champions do exist (African Nutrition Society) and these could be strengthened through targeted interventions and activities.
Opportunities for Collaboration •
The geographical actor and institutional clustering opens possibilities for collaborative crosscutting research, with the better-endowed countries obligated to working with the less endowed ones (low-middle income countries programme design and implementation) in collaboration with other CGIAR centres and other partner consortiums. Regional agriculture, nutrition, and health interventions could be consolidated and supported by more advanced institutions around a regional network to tackle issues of capacity strengthening, namely research design, methods or policy communication. vii
Existing regional platforms such as the African Nutrition Society should be supported in leading especially in using tools for effective network building, e.g. lessons from PAEPARD and an annual/biennial event hosted for continuing education with an African focus. An annual platform for bringing together actors engaged with agriculture, nutrition, and health in Africa facilitated by A4NH with African partners and others would support the advancing of these issues and create space for local, regional and international dialogue.
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION There are few studies that have looked at the individual or institutional capacities when it comes to agriculture, nutrition, and health (ANH) research in the African setting. The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) strongly believes that agriculture can do more for nutrition and health than simply providing staple crops and cheap energy sources. A4NH is committed to conducting research that can have greater impact through the support of key development actors and by building the capacity of research and development institutions and actors in low-income countries. Recognizing that this will require the development of new partnerships between the ANH sectors, A4NH commissioned the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) to conduct an assessment of current agriculture-nutrition research capacity in Africa. SLU undertook a study on actors, institutions and individuals working primarily on issues connecting agriculture to nutrition in Africa. The aim of the survey was to create a profile of the respondents in relation to their training, capacities and experience in nutrition research, with a special focus on the synergies between agriculture, nutrition and health. The results of the survey will be used to create an inventory of researchers and organizations in Africa that can potentially collaborate with A4NH. In addition, interviews with key-informants in several target countries were undertaken to acquire a deeper understanding and to identify opportunities for collaboration. This was aimed at understanding how undertaking relevant research and related capacity strengthening activities could contribute to enhanced nutrition and health outcomes. There were four specific aims of the survey: • • • •
To provide an overview of the current individual nutritional expertise available in Africa To describe the existing nutrition research being undertaken To identify the gaps emphasized for linking agricultural research with nutrition and health outcomes To delineate activities with home-grown African partners for a future development research agenda on ANH outcomes
Scope of the Report This report looks at the actors and individual capacities working mainly in agriculture and nutrition research in Africa. While there are many donor organisations, international and national non-governmental organisations working with nutrition, the survey was particularly interested in mapping the capacities of local human resources, actors and institutions working on issues connecting agriculture, nutrition, and health in Africa. The results of the survey are to inform A4NH, A4NH partners and other interested parties on possible opportunities in collaborating with African actors working on ANH issues using a multi-pronged approach.
Structure of the Report This report is structured into four sections. Following the introduction, the report goes into the methods used in the survey and key-informant interviews. The third chapter delves into the analysis and implications, the fourth chapter are the conclusions and recommendations. There are six annexes: the online survey questionnaire; the targeted online survey questionnaire; the full list of investigated factors; a list of organisations represented by survey respondents; a list of regional initiatives and/or networks operating in ANH landscapes in Africa as represented by survey respondents; and the results from the key informant interviews.
CHAPTER 2. METHODS The survey consisted of an initial desktop review to identify and synthesize wellestablished theories of change (ToC) linking nutrition and health outcomes to agriculture as well as two consecutive online surveys that were built on the synthesis. Major ToC and the A4NH results framework, future research areas and potential for impact were used to design two consecutive online surveys (see
Annex 1 and Annex 2). The surveys investigated the research landscape by focusing on the following components: - The actors in agricultural research, i.e. individuals, organizations, regional initiatives including networks - ANH interventions including research conducted since the year 2000, i.e. subjects, projects and programmes - Enabling environment for ANH landscape Actors were classified into four major groups: individuals, organizations, regional initiatives and global actors. The full lists of the investigated issues for each component of the landscape are provided in Annex 3. Figure 1 Typology of actors used in the report Global Regional initiatives Organizations
Online surveys were disseminated through: - Global professional social networks; LinkedIn, ResearchGate - Online communities of practices; Google groups, yahoo groups, msn groups - E-mails sent to well know African research networks, PAEPARD, EFARD, ANAFE, FARA etc. - E-mails sent to nutrition and health research capacity building institutes and universities The survey was created in Google docs to capture as a wide a pool as possible and the link was provided in the email messages inviting individuals to participate. It was carried out from December 2013 to 21 January 2014. Responses received beyond this date were not included in the analysis. Both questionnaires had a total of twenty-one questions both multiple choice as well as open-ended questions. Respondents were required to fill in all the questions in order for the questionnaire to be submitted. The results were analysed using IBM SPSS 22.
In order to triangulate major outcomes of the surveys, key-informant interviews were conducted with actors working with networks or initiatives related to the topic to acquire a deeper understanding of the issues. The records and minutes of the interviews were analysed by text analysis using QSR Nvivo 10.
CHAPTER 3. ANALYSIS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR COLLABORATIONS Identification of impact pathways from survey responses Desktop analysis for identifying and synthesizing available evidence on the linkages between ANH helped develop a ToC (Figure 2). The linkages confirmed that agricultural practices influence nutrition and health status through two major pathways: primary production practices and processing. In the first branch of pathways starting from primary production practices, practices influence food availability, which create an impact on food consumption and nutrition intake that finally affects nutrition status and ultimately health status. With food availability, micronutrient availability plays an important role. Primary production practices also affect household income. Household income influences health status through the impacts on sanitary and pytosanitary standards, hygiene, use of healthcare and spacing of children. Alternatively, household income affects nutrition intake especially through dietary intakes of mother and children. The second major pathway linking agricultural practices to nutrition and health outcomes is through processing. Processing influences nutrition intake thus nutritional status. The ToC also indicates that nutrition and health status enforces each other through the nutrition intake. Health status influences nutrition intake, which in turn affects nutritional status that has direct impacts on health status. Figure 2 Theories of change linking agriculture to nutrition and health outcomes Headed arrows indicate causal relation while non headed arrows represent associations. The darkness of the colour represents the degree range, where darker components of the theory of change have higher degree of connectedness than lighter ones.
Actors in Agriculture, Nutrition, and Health Research in Africa This section discusses actors in the African ANH research landscape that could be potential partners with A4NH. It focuses on three major groups: global actors, regional initiatives, and local organizations. Information on individuals was not reported due to confidentiality. Initially, research collaboration actors were covered. Afterwards, capacity-building actors were discussed. Due to the huge amount of information provided research, only outstanding results were reported. 162 respondents participated in the survey. 70% of the survey respondents were based in Africa in 29 different countries (Table 1). Kenya hosted the highest number of respondents with 12%. Host countries were distributed among all five different regions of Africa, as defined by the United Nations.
Table 1. Countries in Africa where survey respondents reported working Benin Botswana Burkina Faso Burundi Cameroon Congo DR Congo Egypt Ethiopia Gambia
Ghana Ivory Coast Kenya Lesotho Malawi Mali Mauritius Morocco Nigeria Rwanda
Senegal Somalia South Africa Sudan Tanzania Togo Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe
East Africa had the highest share of countries among the survey respondents (Figure 3). West Africa and Southern Africa constituted a second group following East Africa. Finally, North Africa and Central Africa were the least representative region, most probably reflecting ongoing challenges of conflict and connectivity. Figure 3 Representation of survey respondents across five sub regions of Africa
Research Actors in ANH Research in Africa This section discusses the actors of the African ANH research landscape by focusing on three major groups: global actors, regional initiatives and organizations.
Global Actors The survey respondents identified 18 global nutrition research actors engaged in conducting agriculture for nutrition research in Africa. As indicated in Table 2. Global Actors in ANH research in Africa where respondents were engaged , eight of these are CGIAR research centres, led by IITA and ILRI, followed by Bioversity International, CIMMYT, CIP and CIAT. Survey respondents also identified minor involvement of ICARDA and ICRISAT. Table 2. Global Actors in ANH research in Africa where respondents were engaged Others
CGIAR Centers Leading IITA ILRI
Major Bioversity International CIMMYT CIP CIAT
Feed the Future
FAO World Vision Int. Wageningen Uni.
UNICEF WFP CARE WHO CIRAD
Regional Initiatives and Networks Survey respondents reported that they were members in at least 36 different regional initiatives or networks operating in the ANH research landscape in Africa. The initiatives or networks where the largest number of survey respondents were involved, was African Nutrition Society (ANS) with six respondents indicating membership. ASARECA, Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BECA), FoodTank, PAEPARD, Reaching Agents of Change (RAC) had three respondents each. A full list of organizations and networks is provided in Annex 5. Regional initiatives and networks revealed a lot of diversity. Among the 33 different initiatives or networks, only seven had more than two members among the survey respondents. This could be interpreted as no regional initiative or network has a critical mass or concentration around it. Therefore, intervention strategies need to consider consolidation of networks around a few that exhibits a certain level of stability for effective coordination, implementation and knowledge dissemination. Local Organizations The survey respondents identified 154 different organizations where they are currently working. A4NH asked SLU to focus on seven countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Table 3 provides an inventory of some of the most important local organizations in these seven countries. Table 3 Local organizations working in ANH research in Africa Ethiopia
Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)
Nigerian Federal Institute for Industrial Research
Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute
University of Zambia
College of Agriculture Education
Jomo Kenyatta University
Sokoine University of Agriculture
University of Cape Coast
Agritech Green Services International
Ahmadu Bello University
University of Dar Es Salaam
Agency for Interregional developmen t
Zambia National Farmers Union
University of Ghana
University of Nairobi
University of Port Harcout
Open University of Tanzania
Federal University of Technology, Uwerri
Morogoro Center for Food Processing and Training
Zambia Agriculture Research Institute
Medical Research Institute Chuka University
University Lead City University Nutri Connect Agrovet
Capacity Building Actors in ANH Research in Africa Regional Initiatives and Networks A total of 36 regional initiatives or networks operating in nutrition and health were reported in the survey. They range from pure regional initiatives to continental initiatives such as NEPAD. To supplement survey information, in-depth iterative key informant interviews were conducted with the president of the Federation of African Nutrition Sciences (FANUS) as well as the current chair of the African Nutrition Society (ANS). The interviews indicated an African focused agenda with key African nutrition actors at the individual, institutional and network level would be paramount in order to have successful and sustained results. Nutritional professional societies could support nutrition leadership mentoring programmes. Lack of core funding and disconnect with national actors were identified as the major constraints. Equally important was the need to enhance writing skills and communication. African Nutritional Societies were keen to identify a common programme, such as the ITANA society, a nutrition professional society working with e-learning material and the book project on “nutrition, agriculture and health: when resources are scarce”. More details are provided in Annex 6. The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) pillar III – endorsed in 2003 by African leaders, identified food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition as major problems in Africa that require immediate action. Despite countries and governments having adopted and bought into the Pan African Nutrition Initiative (PANI), individuals and institutions are constrained particularly by human resources. As a response, academic institutions, state and private, have initiated nutrition education training programmes with little or no quality control mechanisms. This was very evident in the case of Ethiopia. Key-informant interviews reinforced what was found in the survey, namely a strong desire for more focus on strengthening capacities on carrying out study designs and research methods. One respondent lamented: “We have simply become enumerators since our capacities and engagement are limited to data collection and no analysis.” A more detailed presentation of the interviews and analysis are presented in Annex 6.
Local Organizations Capacity building was identified as another important objective of this study. This chapter describes major human capacity building actors in the African ANH landscape. Survey respondents reported that their most recent degrees were conferred by the University of Nairobi and Wageningen University with 4,3% respectively (Table 4). Table 4 African universities where respondents earned their most recent degrees World Africa Organizations Country Percentage Ranking Ranking University of Nairobi Kenya 1 1 4,3 Wageningen University Netherlands 2 N.A. 4,3 University of Ibadan Nigeria 3 2 3,7 Ghent University Belgium 4 N.A. 3,1 University of Malawi Malawi 5 3 2,5 Jomo Kenyatta University Kenya 6 4 1,9 Makerere University Uganda 6 4 1,9 University of Ghana Ghana 6 4 1,9 University of Zambia Zambia 6 4 1,9 University of Zimbabwe Zimbabwe 6 4 1,9 In terms of the total degrees taken from African institutes, the University of Nairobi was the leading institution. It was followed by the University of Zambia and University of Ibadan (Table 5). Table 5 African universities where respondents earned their degrees overall Africa Organizations Country Percentage Ranking University of Nairobi Kenya 1 8,3 University of Zambia Zambia 2 6,5 University of Ibadan Nigeria 3 5,6 Egerton University Kenya 4 3,7 Sokoine University of 3,7 Tanzania 4 Agriculture University of Malawi Malawi 4 3,7 Haramaya University Ethiopia 7 2,8 Makerere University Uganda 7 2,8 University of Cape Coast South Africa 7 2,8 University of Dar es Salaam Tanzania 7 2,8 University of Dschang Cameroon 7 2,8 The organizations representing the ANH landscape in Africa represent a wide variation. Although a few organizations are slightly leading, either in terms of based organizations 9
or where the degrees were taken, there was no substantial clustering. Therefore, interventions need to consider solutions for a decentralized organizational landscape. With the exception of Kenya, no other countries have more than one organization in the list of the leading organization presented in Tables 4 and 5. This implies that ANH research education organizations in Africa are organized around a country champion. Considering the organizational landscape described above, an effective intervention strategy is to coordinate the activities of national champions in a single platform. 79% of the degrees received by survey respondents were conferred by African universities. Kenya also led the list of countries conferring university degrees by 12%. Similarly, Kenya was followed by Nigeria by 11% and Tanzania by 5%. Half of the degrees were conferred by East African universities, followed by West Africa by 29% (Figure 4). Figure 4 Sub region in Africa where respondents reported receiving university degrees, n=106 4% 8%
9% 50% 29%
Degrees given by the African capacity building actors indicated that the ANH research landscape was dominated by a few relatively well performing countries Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania, concentrated East Africa and to a certain extent West Africa. Therefore, research interventions need to be sensitive to the regional and country level heterogeneities. Initial ANH research interventions might aim for a concentration of activities in specific countries or regions in order to reach an important impact threshold. However, the interventions need to be diversified geographically to improve the ANH research landscape in Africa. Entry points for improved ANH research in Africa The ToC represented in Figure 2 and the results framework of the A4NH program were utilized to create a survey to investigate ANH interventions. Two major questions to identify interventions were put forward; (1) individual experience on interventions by asking for the type of the research conducted by the survey respondents since 2000 and (2) important intervention areas; stating important issues linking nutrition and health. Figure 5 shows the individual experience of survey respondents. Among the first-degree importance ToC, survey respondents were engaged in research on nutritional status, 10
nutrition intake and food consumption. However, respondents did not engage in research on health status and household income. As indicated by the interviews, one major reason for not engaging in health status and household income research projects was that health and economics were regarded to be very distinct subjects. Food science was an integral part of the discussion on ANH research and nutrition scientists were more integrated in the discussions. However, on the research project level health scientist and economists have not been sufficiently considered an integrated part. Therefore, an important intervention area for A4NH is to encourage, and to involve health scientists, economists, and to ensure the incorporation of the health and economics perspectives in the designed interventions. In the second-degree importance ToC, food availability was the only area that previous research involvement did not target. According to the findings, food availability was the bridge between primary production practices, and nutrition and health outcomes. The efficiency of distribution of products among those who need, seasonality, and other dimensions of food availability were poorly targeted by the research projects. ANH interventions need to monitor the impact of the research on primary production processes on food availability with its sub components. Incorporation of availability impact indicators to research on availability and diffusion of plant innovations, aflatoxins, zoonotic diseases, diseases associated with agriculture, and aquaculture is a right step in that direction. In the third and fourth degree importance ToC, allocation of food in the household was one of the first issues with which the reported projects were not sufficiently involved. Research on primary production practices impacts food availability and food consumption for better nutrition and health status. However, the size of the impact depends on allocation of the food in the household and the size of the household, particularly the number of children. . Interviews also indicated that factors, especially gender and age are important sources of heterogeneity in food consumption. Thus, ANH interventions need not only focus on increasing food consumption at the household level but also monitor the distribution in households and the impact on different members of the household. Gender and age disaggregated indicators might prove useful to ensure the positive impact of research on primary production research on nutritional and health outcomes.
Figure 5 Distribution of reported ANH research topics conducted since 2000 in Africa
Four fourth-degree importance units in the ToC were not considered to be part of the projects survey respondents were involved with since 2000. These were sanitary and pytosanitary standards, hygiene, use of healthcare, and spacing of children. All four were along the pathways from primary production to health and nutrition outcomes through income – health status paths. Thus, ANH research interventions need to consider these paths as well as the food consumption paths. In the absence of consideration and monitoring of the factors that link changes of income to health status, the impact of primary production research outcomes on nutrition and health status will not be complete. Survey respondents identified the most important issues in an open-ended question and the issues mentioned were mapped using the ToC identified in Figure 2. The results are presented in Figure 6. Issues mentioned by the survey respondents covered all first and second-degree important components of the ToC. However, in household heterogeneity 12
in food consumption and components linking household income to health status were not mentioned. Therefore, ANH interventions need to pay special attention to the gender and age issues in food consumption and pathways linking primary production to health status through household income. Almost half of the issues specified by the survey respondents, 44%, were non-thematic research topics. These issues were on conditioning factors for research or the enabling environment. Research design was considered an important issue by 23% of the survey respondents. In research design, survey respondents especially emphasized lack of participatory approaches in determining research intervention objectives and role of local actors. There was general agreement among the key informants that an African determined agenda with African nutrition actors at the individual, institutional and network levels given key positions would be paramount in order to have successful and sustained results.
Figure 6 Most important issues reported by respondents for improving ANH research
Five percent of the survey respondents identified lack of capacity and capacity building as an important issue in the ANH research landscape. Key informant interviews identified several reasons. In several locations, lack of researchers or lack of training by researchers were considered to be important capacity building constraints. Other reasons were high staff turnover in the field of nutrition especially in government and that was mostly due to salaries not being commiserate with the education capacities and purchasing power causing nutrition experts to gravitate towards international nongovernmental organisations and thereby erode local government capacities. Communication of research outputs was identified as an important issue by 6% of the survey respondents. Key informant interviews indicated that while time and workload could be easily identified as the limiting factors to the low rate of publications, it was
more the culture of not writing and publishing that is the hurdle. Very little funding is set aside for research, and resources to promote writing are hardly there. In brief, ANH interventions need to strategize a complementary approach for creating an enabling environment for ANH research in Africa. Research design issues such as including African stakeholders in determining research priorities, communicating research outcomes to policy circles and local organizations, and building capacity of local organizations and researchers are critical for the success of interventions aiming to improve the ANH research landscape in Africa.
CHAPTER 4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS In conclusion, the survey gives an overview of what and how actors and institutions are working in ANH research in Africa. Given the various channels that were utilised for disseminating the survey and the fairly large number of respondents (164 at time of analysis), it is prudent to suggest that the findings reflect the current state of affairs. The survey findings and recommendations can be summarised into three parts 1) research topics 2) capacity strengthening and 3) opportunities collaboration. Research Topics - Health and nutritional status are enforcing each other. Agricultural research interventions may have the potential to improve nutritional status even in the absence of an initial intervention in nutrition, but they are likely to be much more effective when both direct nutrition and health paths are targeted. Effective interventions need to consider and monitor the extra income used in improving hygiene, sanitary and pytosanitary standards as well as food consumption and nutrition intake. -
Research interventions need to monitor the impact of the research on primary production process on food availability with its sub components. Incorporation of availability impact indicators to research in availability and diffusion of plant innovations, aflatoxins, zoonotic diseases, diseases associated with agriculture and aquaculture is a first step in that direction
Interventions need not only focus on increasing food consumption on the household level but also monitor the impact on different members of the household. Gender and age disaggregated indicators would prove useful to ensure the positive impact of research on primary production research on nutritional and health outcomes.
Interventions need to strategize a complementary approach for the enabling environment for ANH research in Africa. Research design issues such as participation of the African stakeholders in determining research priorities, communicating the research outcomes to the policy circles and local organizations, and building capacity of local organizations and researchers are critical for the success of interventions aiming to improve the ANH research landscape in Africa. 15
Capacity building of ANH Actors in Africa - Capacity building activities need to be sensitive to the regional and country level heterogeneities. Initial agricultural research interventions improving nutrition and health outcomes might aim at concentrating activities in specific countries or regions in order to reach an important impact threshold, however, the interventions need to be diversified geographically. Especially central and northern Africa needs extra attention and resources for an overall bigger impact on improving health and nutrition in Africa. -
On a country scale, organizations in Africa are organized around a country champion. Moreover, regionally, ANH interventions are quite decentralized, with no regional initiative or network has a critical mass of concentration around it. Capacity building strategies need to consider consolidation of networks around a few for effective coordination and knowledge dissemination. An effective intervention strategy would be to coordinate the activities of national champions in a few platforms regionally. Existing regional platforms lead by ANS, ANAFE, and CAADP / sub-regional agricultural research organizations are potential candidates. However, their capacity needs to be improved especially in using tools for effective networking. Moreover, facilitation support is necessary to synchronize the activities of such potential networks. PAEPARD might prove a good example for the synchronization of potential networks.
Research interventions need to internalize health and economics research perspectives, encourage and enhance involvement of health scientists and economists in research interventions. For health scientists, innovative ways need to be created to attract them to ANH research. In terms of economics, CGIAR centres lead by IFPRI, IITA and ILRI have important capabilities. However, an effective platform aiming to bring together health, economics, nutrition and agriculture is yet to come. Developing a team in A4NH to facilitate the process of bring together and sensitizing researchers in these fields might produce substantial benefits. A second useful step would be to organize an A4NH facilitated workshop, where global actors specified earlier as well as the leading African regional networks could participate. An intermediate step of creating a consultative team consisting of leading and major CGIAR centres might have important advantages.
ANNEXES Annex 1 Questionnaire used for the online survey .............................................................................. 17 Annex 2 Questionnaire used for the targeted online survey ............................................................... 20 Annex 3 List of investigated factors ..................................................................................................... 22 Annex 4 List of organizations where survey respondents are currently working ................................ 24 Annex 5 List of regional initiatives or networks in the ANH research landscape in Africa .................. 27 Annex 6 Results from key informant interviews conducted to understand the ANH research landscape in Africa ................................................................................................................................ 28
Annex 1 Questionnaire used for the online survey Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) Capacity Inventory for Key Individuals and Organizations in Africa This survey aims to create a profile of the respondents in relation to their training, capabilities and experience in nutrition and health research, with a special focus on the synergies between agriculture, nutrition and health. The results of the survey will be used to create an inventory of researchers and organizations in Africa that can potentially collaborate for CGIAR Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Research Program. For more information about the program http://www.a4nh.cgiar.org/. The survey takes on average 10 minutes to complete. ALL SURVEY PARTICIPANTS THAT COMPLETE THE SURVEY WILL BE CONSIDERED TO BE POTENTIAL PARTNERS. THERE WILL BE A FOLLOW UP COMMUNICATION WITHIN 60 DAYS. * Required 1. E-mail address * 2. Gender * Mark only one oval. Female Male 3. Age * 4. Qualifications in Nutrition or Health * Please specify all the diplomas or degrees that you hold in subjects related to nutrition Check all that apply. None Technician Diploma Bachelor Master/MSc Doctorate/PhD Other: 5. Which university did you receive your most recent qualification? * Please specify the organization 6. Have you received any degree from an African university? * Please specify the organization 7. In which of these fields do you hold qualifications? * Moe than one choice is possible Check all that apply. Animal health Food safety Animal nutrition Food science Biochemistry Food security Culinary Arts Food toxicology Community nutrition Food technology Dietetics Food and agribusiness Domestic science Home economics Food policy Human nutrition
Microbiology Nutrition education Nutritional epidemiology Plant genetics Program planning and evaluation Sports nutrition Other:
8. Have you received any other professional training on the following subjects? * Please specify Check all that apply. Bio-fortification Adoption and diffusion of Value chains for nutrient (Micronutrient breeding) plant innovations rich food Food consumption Consumer acceptance of Diseases associated with Malnutrition food Maternal and child agriculture Aquaculture Nutrient retention nutrition Diseases associated with Bioavailability Diets Livestock Program planning and Nutrition and health policy Diseases associated with evaluation Food safety fish Plant breeding Aflatoxins Other: Applied biotechnology Food safety risk management 9. Which universities have you received the training? * Please specify the organizations you have received the training if relevant 10. Have you conducted any research on the following subjects since the year 2000? * Please specify subjects Check all that apply. Bio-fortification Adoption and diffusion of Value chains for nutrient (Micronutrient breeding) plant innovations rich food Food consumption Consumer acceptance of Diseases associated with Malnutrition food Maternal and child agriculture Nutrient retention nutrition Nutrition sensitive Bioavailability Diets landscapes Aquaculture Program planning and Nutrition and health policy Diseases associated by evaluation Food safety livestock Plant breeding Aflatoxins Diseases associated by fish Applied biotechnology Food safety risk Other: management 11. Which organizations/institutions are you currently working with? * Please specify names, your positions and locations 12. Are you involved with any regional nutrition initiatives? * Please state the name and location for all 13. Which nutrition and health related research projects are you involved now? * Please specify names and locations if relevant 14. Which nutrition and health related research projects were you involved with since 2000? Please specify names, dates and locations if relevant 15. Whom or which institutions have you cooperated with in nutrition and health research since 2000? * Please specify organizations or experts you have collaborated with 16. Do you know anyone or any organization that promotes nutrition research in Africa? Please specify the organization or individual 17. Which calls or organizations have you applied for funding for nutrition and health research since 2000? * 19
Please specify the name and dates where relevant 18. Which research or development projects related to nutrition and health have you managed since 2000? * Please specify the name, dates and location if relevant 19. Have you ever collected and reported on nutrition data? * Please specify what kind, date, location if relevant 20. How do you communicate your research results with wider audiences? * Please specify 21. Since 2000, how many peer reviewed nutrition and health related publications have you published? * Please specify the number
Annex 2 Questionnaire used for the targeted online survey Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) Perspectives of Collaborators This survey aims to gather more information about potential key collaborators for Agriculture for Nutrition and Health Program of CGIAR. This survey is communicated only to the individuals that have been identified through a selection process by the A4NH team. The results of the survey will be utilized to understand the state of issues in nutrition and health related agricultural research in Africa as well as the constraints experienced by African researchers. For more information about the program http://www.a4nh.cgiar.org/. The survey takes 10 minutes on average to complete. If you have not completed the first survey, please visit the following page by clicking on it and complete it: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1dUch_d4xJimC_TRxoCia6rXcalwioCvp76Rg723l_Y/viewfor m * Required 0. E-mail address you specified in the previous survey? * If you haven`t completed the previous survey, please see link above 1. Have you been supported financially or otherwise in doing your nutrition and health related research since 2000? * If yes please specify the project (program), type of the support and organization 2. Have you cooperated with any researchers or organizations conducting nutrition and health related research since 2000? * Please specify name, project (program), dates and location 3. Have you participated in any projects or programs linking agriculture with nutrition or health since 2000? * If yes, please specify the name, date and location 4. Do you know any researchers or organizations doing nutrition or health research in an agricultural context since 2000? * Please specify name, organization and location 5. Have you ever worked or collaborated with community nutrition or health workers since 2000? * If yes please specify project (programme) date and location 6. Have you ever worked or collaborated with private sector organization in nutrition or health projects since 2000? * If yes please specify project (programme) date and location 7. Have you ever worked with public sector organizations in nutrition or health projects since 2000? * If yes please specify project (programme) date and location 8. Have you ever worked with African organizations or initiatives in nutrition or health projects since 2000? * If yes please specify project (programme) date and location 21
9. Have you ever worked with a project or program led by only African organizations, scientist or initiatives in nutrition or health since 2000? * If yes please specify project (programme) date and location 10. Which methods have you applied in nutrition or health research since 2000? * Please specify name, scale, period 11. Have you ever conducted participatory research methods since 2000? * Please describe briefly 12. What do you think about the availability of funding for nutrition and health research?* Mark only one oval. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Quite unsatisfactory Quite satisfactory 13. How effective is the support you have recieved for conducting your nutrition or health research since 2000? * Mark only one oval. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Quite unsatisfactory Quite satisfactory 14. How do you judge the availability of nutrition and health research equipment in your institution? * Mark only one oval. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Quite unsatisfactory Quite satisfactory 15. What other equipment, if any, would you need to pursue better nutrition and health research? * 16. Poor quality data has been cited as one of the major reasons for the low uptake of nutrition and health research. Do you use nutrition and health databases? * If so, please specify 17. Can you readily access validated, quality nutrition and health data bases? If not, can you specify the reasons? * Please specify the institution and name of the database 18. Have you worked with the promotion of nutrition or health research? * If yes please specify what programs and how 19. Do you know any individuals or organizations promoting nutrition and health research? * Please specify the name and date/year 20. In your opinion what are the most important issues in linking agricultural research with nutrition and health outcomes? 21. How would you assess the impact of research projects and programs in reducing nutrition and health related problems since 2000?
Annex 3 List of investigated factors INFORMATION INVENTORY FOR AGRICULTURE, NUTRITION AND HEALTH RESEARCH IN AFRICA A. Actors A.1. Individuals • Degrees hold • Training received • Organizations worked • Organizations cooperated • Involved nutrition initiatives • Involved projects • Managed nutrition interventions • Nutrition data collection experience • Involved ANH Communication activities • Publications • Funding applications made • Funding received • Other researchers cooperated • Known other researchers in ANH • Experience with community researcher or health workers • Experience with private sector • Experience with public sector • Cooperation with African organizations • Participatory methods used • ANH Promotion experience A.2. Organizations • Degrees given • Trainings given • Researcher, experts employed • Expertise Subjects • Currently worked subjects • Funding received • Aimed collaborations • Experience in promoting ANH • Funding targets • Other organizations worked with • African organizations collaborated with • Experience with collaborating community workers or health workers organizations • Experience with private sector organizations • Experience with public sector organizations A. 3. Networks • Individuals belonging to the network • Organizations belonging to the research network • Key individuals and organizations in the research network • Known individuals by individuals and organizations • Known organizations by individuals and organizations A. 4. Regional initiatives • Known regional initiatives • Currently involved regional initiatives 23
B. INTERVENTIONS B.1. Subjects • Hold Qualifications • Given professional training • Received professional training • Current research done • Previous research done • Currently worked • Previously worked B.2. Projects • Individual involved in the past • Organizations involved in the past • Individual currently involved • Organizations currently involved • Led by African organizations B.3. Programs • Individual involved in the past • Organizations involved in the past • Individual currently involved • Organizations currently involved • Led by African organizations C. Enabling Environment • Fields of the subjects • Funding landscape for nutrition and health • Research support actors • Effectiveness of funding support • Status of physical infrastructure and equipment • Necessary equipment for better research • Nutrition data sources D. Characterization Factors for A-C above • Country • Region • Continent • Age • Gender E. Opinions on critical issues for ANH • Issues in linking agricultural research with nutrition and health outcomes • Impact of research projects and programs in reducing nutrition and health related problems
Annex 4 List of organizations where survey respondents are currently working African Food Security Urban Network (AFSUN)
Kenyan Ministry of Health
African Institute for Capacity Development Agency For Interregional development
Environmental Resources Management Centre for Sustainable Development ERF
Kogi State University
Lead City University
Estrell Trading Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute, Ethiopian institute of Agricultural research Excel Hort Consult Ltd
Makerere University Malawi Deparment of Agricultural Research Services McKNIGHT Foundation Mekelle University
University of Benin University of Cape Coast
Australian High Commission in Kenya
Benin Ministry of Agriculture Bern University of Applied Sciences Botswana College of Agriculture Bumala Online Technologies Ltd Cameroon Institute of Agricultural Research
Farm Radio International Federal University of Technology Uwerri GALVmed
Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute, Dar-essalaam- Tanzania. Socio-Scientists Morogoro Centre for Food Processing Training and Consultancy Services Mulungushi University n Keller International
Cameroon Ministiry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Cameroon Ministry of Environment
Agritech Green Services International Ahmadu Bello University ANGRAU Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine ASARECA AusAID
National University of Lesotho NEPAD
Gent Univeristy GIZ
Nigerian Federal Institute of Industrial Research Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Norel Animal Health
Tanzanian Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development The University of Memphis
University of Cape Town University of Dar es Salaam University of Dschang
University of Ghana
University of Greenwich University of KwaZulu Natal University of Lome University of Malawi University of Mauritius University of Nairobi
University of Northern British
Center for Arid Zone Studies Centre of Specialized Instruction in Agriculture-ForestryTimber (CRESA) Chester Reader
Children and Neighbors Defeat Obesity Chinese food safety and nutrition center Chuka University,
CIP Clumbia Asia Hospital College of Agriculture Education Consortium for Economic Research and Development Studies Cornell University Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Crops for the Future CSIRO Dalgety Agra Poland Department of Agricultural Science Ignatius Ajuru University of Education Department of Animal
Columbia University of Ottowa
Northwest A&F University Nutri Connect Agrovet University of Port Harcourt ONG GLOBE University of Sydney
ONG Louvain Coopération au Développement
University of Texas
Open University of Tanzania Organisation Nationale des Femmes Rurales PACA Partnership for control of afflatoxin Politechnic University of Valencia
University of Zambia
ROPPA Farmers organization
Rwanda Agriculture Board
West Africa Health Organization
Saint Louis University
VIA Media Health
Sasakawa Africa Association
Women, Infants and Children, Dietitian, Evans, CO World Agroforestry Centre World Bank
Jomo Kenyatta University
Sheba medical center & Meir hospital SNV - Netherlands Development Organisation Sokoine University of Agriculture South Africa Nort West University South African Barley Breeding Institute St. Jude Children's research Hospita
Tanzanian Ministry of
Inspira Health Medical Center Instituo de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiologia de Salamanca Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi Institut Supérieur de Développement Rural de Bukavu Institute of Agricultural Research and Training Institute of Animal Science International Tree Foundation International Trypanotolerance Centre Iran medical sience university Iranian Food and Drug Administration James Cook University
USAID USDA-ARS UT Health Science Center
YARA Zambia Agriculture Research Institute Zambia Ministry of Agriculture Zambia national farmers union
Science & Fisheries
Different International Feed additive producers Direction Générale de l'Innovation Technologique
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Kenya Medical Research Institute
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Livestock and Fisheries Development
Annex 5 List of regional initiatives or networks in the ANH research landscape in Africa CAADP pillar III Network for African food and nutritional Security
Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters Programme (BRACED)
New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition
CGIAR Grain Legumes
Global Tree Domestication
Reaching Agents of Change (RAC)
CleanFarms by CropLife International
Federation of African Nutrition Societies (FANUS)
Life Long learning For Farmers (L3F) Initiative
Sub Saharan Africa Challenge Program
Agency For Interregional development
Sasakawa Africa Association
ROPPA West African Farmers Organizaton
African Nutrition Security Partnership African Nutrition Society African Institute for Capacity Development
Australia Africa University Network coalition to support improved nutrition and health Bio-Innovate Africa Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BECA)
SAFO (Strategic Alliance Fortification Oil) Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN)
Annex 6 Results from key informant interviews conducted to understand the ANH research landscape in Africa Participants: Joyce Kinabo (Sokoine Agricultural University), John Msuya (Sokoine University), Jeff Waage (London International Development Centre/LCIRAH), Stuart Gillespie (TRANSFORM, IDS), Danayt Belay (Ethiopian Istitute for Water Resources), Solomon Gebreyohannis (Ethiopian Istitute for Water Resources), Admasu Tasew ( PhD student, Ethiopian Istitute for Water Resources), Numeri Geresom (Bunda College, Lilongwe University), Orpah Kabambe Numeri Geresom (Bunda College, Lilongwe University), David Mkwambisi (Bunda College, Lilongwe University), Alexander Kalimibira(Bunda College, Lilongwe University), Aregash Aweke (Ethiopian Nutrition Health Institute), Biniyam Tesfay (Ethiopian Nutrition Health Institute), Emmanuel Ohene Afoakwa, (University of Ghana), Esi Colecraft, (University of Ghana), Francis Zotor (University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), Mamadou Dicko (Ougadougu University), Thorkild Tylleskär (University of Bergen), Akira Kaneko (Karolinska Institutet), Agneta Andersson (Uppsala University), Agneta Hörnell (Umeå University) Background and Purpose These interviews were undertaken as part of the Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) programme led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to understand and identify opportunities for collaboration in undertaking relevant research and related capacity strengthening activities that could contribute to enhanced nutrition outcomes. The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) was commissioned to undertake this assignment and to utilise their known nutritional networks as a starting point. Interviews were conducted over a six month period between November 2013 and April 2014, in the form of face to face where possible, skype, email and telephone interviews. In some cases, repeat interviews were conducted with various partners especially with individuals represent networks or organisations that were active. The purpose is to strengthen nutritional capacities in terms of knowledge, skills and tools that would support the design and implementation of the growing number of nutrition and health sensitive agricultural interventions. Participants in the interviews represent institutions, largely academic, that are involved in developing intersectoral and interdisciplinary research, capacity building, policy and practice. A check-list to get answers comprised four open-ended questions: • What are some of the challenges in that you face in carrying out your work in nutrition • What support do you find or get in carrying out nutritional activities • What opportunities could a programme like A4NH provide • Any other comments The findings from these interviews have been categorised and summarised into four themes. I. An African Focused Nutrition Agenda There was general agreement among the participants interviewed that an African focused agenda with key African nutrition actors at the individual, institutional and network level would be paramount in order to have successful and sustained results. With high staff turnover in the field of nutrition especially in government based positions and largely due to salaries not being commiserate with the education capacities and purchasing power, nutrition experts gravitate towards international non-governmental organisations and thereby erode local government capacities. While there is an ever increasing awareness and focus on nutrition in Africa especially with the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) pillar III – endorsed in 2003 by African leaders, food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition are identified as major problems in Africa that require immediate action. Despite countries and governments having 29
adopted and bought into the Pan African Nutrition Initiative (PANI), individuals and institutions are constrained particularly in human resources. As a response, academic institutions, state and private have initiated nutrition education training programmes with little or no quality control mechanisms. This was very evident in the case of Ethiopia. While this amplified awareness is encouraging, many also raised concerns as those sometimes teaching in these programmes are not trained in nutritional and health sciences. Class sizes in institutions where intake has been raised as a result of the heightened awareness and need to focus on nutrition in the African region, constitutes a challenge for teachers in terms of workload and quality control. While funding opportunities to support these initiatives is partly there from organisations such as USAID, United Nations Development Fund, Food and Agriculture Organisation, Irish Aid, incountry support still remains limited making these initiatives short lived. For example in the case of Malawi, student intake has increased by more than 50%. The intake for 2012/13 comprised 224 students (120 male, 84 female) at Bachelor of Science level and 34 Students at Master degree level. There was an observed increasing interest from applicants wishing to study nutrition, particularly from male students. The staff capacities available for teaching were: four with a PhD; five with MSc. and two with BSc. At the time of the interview three of the staff members were on study leave. Respondents were also self-critical in terms of the quest for further education and the relevance of the education for African nutrition issues. To date there are very few academic institutions in Africa that are capable of providing education at the master’s degree or doctorate degree level within the field of nutrition. As such, individuals aspiring to reach those levels are more often than not required to train outside of the African continent. As one respondent indicated: “we are what our supervisors in Europe or USA taught us – if it was calcium deficiency or iron that is what we know, and not necessarily our country priorities” These feelings of the inability to dictate what to study and thus which knowledge, skills and capacities to acquire for the respective African nutritional landscape were expressed in different ways by several respondents: “we seriously need African lead think tanks in nutrition” “I lament when I see that the total capacities of publications in the whole of the West African nutrition departments is less than that of one university in Canada” “we have had the same nutritional stunting levels since 1938 and failed to reduce these, but we have totally decimated nutritional capacities on the ground especially in extension. And now we have people in rural areas and in the towns with high blood pressure and obesity but no one is interested in supporting us to study these issues, but these are also African problems”. While another stated: “lately there is a tendency to merge institutions such as the Nutrition Institute with the Health Institute, as you know the medical doctors do not want nutrition to lead, so it becomes sidelined in health” It would appear that as nutrition gains in importance the more it is integrated into health structures for good and bad. Being led by health experts appears to be undermining the position of nutrition within these structures. Respondents indicated that a more open discussion particularly with donors funding these mergers on the role of specific funding for nutrition might be a way to strengthen the position of nutrition. The PANI is an important document for promoting nutrition in Africa as well as the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement. But there is an ever increasing realisation and need to improve and fast-track African home grown research and evidence that can inform decision-making and policies. The creation of an African nutrition research network would be of great value in promoting regionally-led and focused activities. The upcoming African Nutritional Epidemiology 30
Conference (2014) has as one of its goals to provide a platform and forum for discussing and promoting African-led initiatives in nutrition on the African continent. The event also provides ample opportunity for A4NH and the proposed academy to interact with key African individuals engaged in nutrition in Africa and in priority setting for its future activities. II. Capacity Strengthening - Study Design and Research methods A recurring need in the interviews was the urgency for capacity strengthening at all levels, with training of early career as well as continued education especially for those that had been trained many years ago. “what good does it do us if we cannot design the study or identify the research question and methodology but are part of the data collection?” The need for acquiring the knowledge, skills and capacities to design studies and to identify a researchable problem or question were identified as activities that the A4NH programme could assist in fast-tracking. Training of early career researchers in hard skills, such as relevant methodologies from different sectors and in soft skills, such as communication, interdisciplinary working, project preparation, management and leadership were also identified as pressing needs. “we have simply become enumerators since our capacities and engagement is limited to data collection and no analysis”. Again, many indicated the need to have training in research methods particularly in data analysis that could also lead to publications. As nutritionists, the understanding of the problems while relatively easier, the provision of the evidence in a credible and rigorous manner remains a challenge and address these limitations would strengthen the case. III. Scientific Writing and Communication While time factor and workload could be easily identified as the limiting factors to the low rate of publications, it is more the culture of not writing and publishing that is the hurdle. Very little funding is set aside for research and resources to promote writing hardly there. Combined with the lack of capacities and skills to design studies some of the early career scientists are challenged. Interviews with the representatives of the Federation of African Nutrition Society (FANUS), African Nutritional Epidemiology Conference (ANEC) and Information Technology for Advancement of Nutrition in Africa (ITANA) identified the need to establish regional courses and mentoring that could fast-track scientific writing and publications. The e-nutrition learning programme being developed with ANEC is an opportunity that could cut across the continent and achieve this objective. African leadership in nutrition, African Nutrition think tanks and role models are some key pillars that were identified as being crucial towards enhancing scientific writing and communication. But writing was not the only limitation identified suitable journals with high impact factor willing to accept publications with relevance for Africa were also few and scarce. Establishment of journals that would have high ranking were identified as an activity that a network such as ANEC could be responsible for. The biennial conference by ANEC is proving to be a powerful force and engine for moving these issues and the A4NH programme could explore ways of supporting these opportunities. Relevant academic materials for teaching written by Africans working with nutrition remain few. ITANA is a network of professionals from the fields of nutrition, food science, agricultural and related sciences. The society was formed in 2000 when a group of 26 nutrition professionals from 17 African countries met at Uppsala University, Sweden, as participants in the Global Nutrition 2000 training programme, sponsored by SIDA (Swedish International Development 31
Cooperation Agency), on the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Nutrition. Among other issues, these professionals debated the issue of Nutrition in Africa and came to the realization that Africa is probably the only Continent in the World without a Nutrition Society, which adequately encompasses scientific expression and communication on the nutrition agenda for the Continent. They felt that there was a need to develop Nutrition in Africa and create opportunities for greater interaction in the field. Furthermore, the great strides being made in the field of ICT have not left the field of Nutrition unaffected. As such, ICT has made great inroads in Nutrition not only in terms of faster, and better, communication among Nutrition professionals but also in policy formulation and implementation. In view of these developments, nutrition professionals (all participants of the Global Nutrition programme 1999 - 2000) from 36 countries in the African continent organized the first ever conference on the role of Information Technology in the Advancement of Nutrition in Africa (ITANA) in July 2002 in Kenya, and the second conference organized in September 2005 in South Africa. ITANA developed several teaching material that have since become outdated and need revising. The group is currently interested in updating a textbook that was used as part of the training “Nutrition, Agriculture and Health: when resources are scarce”. The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), the Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University are keen to work further in supporting this initiative and for A4NH to support this need. IV. Nutritional Professional Societies and Leadership The Federation for African Nutrition Society is the umbrella organisation for nutrition societies in Africa, with the last meeting held in Abuja Nigeria in 2011. Some of the key challenges for the society are funding and disconnect with the national nutritional societies. The current president is Professor Joyce Kinabo of Sokoine Agricultural University. While there is no doubt that there is a need for the society and that one of the roles of the society is to promote nutrition and provide a platform for nutritionists and others working with nutrition issues, the secretariat has challenges in conducting its activities effectively. Members needing support are at times unable to get this support due to these constraints. For example, the recent 20th International Congress on Nutrition (IUNS) the FANUS president encouraged African nutritionists to submit abstracts, however most people had difficulties finding funds to attend. In addition the society was not able to raise funds to support attendance. While this is frustrating at individual level, it also demoralises them from submitting abstracts to other conferences as funding seems to always be in limited supply. The society is also lacking a website and in today’s ICT based information system, this makes the society invisible to those not aware of its existence. A4NH and the Academy could contribute towards raising its profile and awareness by linking some of the identified capacity strengthening activities with FANUS as well as ANEC and ITANA. Dr Francis Zotor based at the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), is the current president and coordinator for the 2014 ANEC conference to be held in Ghana 21 – 25 July. The theme for the conference is Food and Nutrition Security: new challenges and opportunities for sustainability. ANEC aims to promote issues of capacity strengthening within the field of nutrition, by highlighting gaps and opportunities. ANEC also works towards improving the communication between practitioners and policy makers, by actively supporting and including in its programmes discussions on initiatives such the SUN movement. ANEC has also been instrumental in bringing to fruition together with partners The e-Nutrition Academy: A New Partnership for Nutrition Capacity Building in Africa. Like FANUS, ANEC is also struggling with funding; however, the drive and commitment to engage in nutrition and capacity strengthening remain at the forefront. ANEC will explore opportunities for partnering with the proposed LCIRAH-A4NH Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy – Focus on Africa’s Needs. During the interview discussions, a panel is included in the forthcoming conference to discuss this and to identify a way forward. 32
Currently, ITANA Prof Emmanuel Ohene Afoakwa is the interim president and quite the prolific writer. One of his passions is to increase the capacity of Africans and their publication potential. After a period of financial constraint, ITANA is preparing to undertake the major activities in reviving the society. The ITANA president is in consultations with the ANEC on how they could merge forces in achieving their goals particularly in the areas of capacity strengthening, skills training, leadership, mentoring and e-nutrition. In the short and medium term ITANA has the following activities outlined: i. ii. iii. iv.
v. vi. vii. viii. ix.
Retrieve the domain of ITANA website Create website with name: www.itanasociety.org Link to the ITANA website to the Global Nutrition (Globnut.net) website the origins Sourcing funding for 20 members from the following countries - Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Burkina Faso – to attend the African Nutrition Epidemiology Conference (ANEC) to be held in Accra, Ghana from July 25 – 28, 2014. Certification of professional members as ICT Nutrition Professionals in Africa Organize bi-annual Conferences Organize Capacity Building Activities for members such as Proposal Writing Courses, Scientific Writing Courses, Leadership Training, Mentoring and Networking Activities, aimed at fast tracking the careers of professional members Book Revision – Agriculture, Nutrition and Health: When Resources are Scarce Plan to organize the next ITANA Conference in 2015 in Accra, Ghana
For the proposed Academy A4NH should explore synergies with working with these three nutrition societies, because they have well established databases of the existing and potential human nutrition resource in Africa. Next steps There are two identified spaces of opportunity to move these findings and discussions forward namely: 1. 4th Annual LCIRAH Research Conference, June 3rd and 4th 2014; Birkbeck College, London. Inviting the key leading presidents of the professional nutrition socities in Africa to be part of the discussions and particularly the Academy discussions planned for the 5th June 2. AFRICAN NUTRITIONAL EPIDEMIOLOGY CONFRENCE (ANEC VI) 21 – 25 July 2014 in Accra Ghana. An IFPRI A4NH panel in plenary session is planned for Wednesday 23 July to discuss and explore ways of addressing challenges and opportunities in capacity strengthening of African nutritional scientists. Since one of the aims of the proposed LCIRAh-A4NH Academy is that it would work best if it linked researchers globally, with some regionally focused activity, involving local institutions as hosts of activities one way is to link the Academy to important regional and national activities such as those identified in these interviews. This does not preclude involvement with other initiatives beyond those reported here. Neither do we preclude engagement in other relevant and critical areas, like policy.