NIL project holds First Contributing Authors’ Workshop to publish a book for policy formulation on Agriculture, Nutrition and Gender

One of the authors presenting the study findings for review

Feed the Future Innovation Laboratory for Nutrition (NIL)project has held the First Contributing Authors’ Workshop is to self-assess the papers at hand, criticise and improve them for publication.

The aim is to produce a book in a simplified and non-technical language for policy makers for policy formulation and/or change.

The meeting brought together contributing authors of over 10 chapters on 24th February,2021 at the Conference Hall, School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering.

The objectives of the meeting were 1) appreciation of the activities of USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab in Uganda; 2) improved and common understanding of individual Book chapters and 3) agreed roadmap for Book completion (finalise writing, review, editors and publishers).

Makerere university has been running the NIL project that is supported by USAID   managed by TUFTS university and other partners since 2010.

Prof. Bernard Bashaasha presenting some of his research work

The Principal Investigator Prof. Bernard Bashaasha said the project has had two major data collections.  The panel data that was done in 2012, 2014 and 2016 and then the Birth Cohort that was also done in 2016 covering about 5000 pregnant women.

Prof. Bashaasha said, the project has generated over 30 academic papers   that have been published. “Most of this information is technical and has been published in academic papers that have important policy implications that we think have not been adequately explored and communicated.

Mr. Mukama Innocent Tinka presenting his works on Moringa

So, the purpose of this meeting is to digest those technical papers and filter out policy relevant information that is  useful for policy makers and practitioners in the area of Nutrition programming and  then summarize them into a small readable volume that we hope to publish and distribute to all stakeholders in the different ministries targeting the Office of the Prime minister, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Ministry of Education, Non-Governmental Organizations and  UN agencies like World Health Organisation, World Food Programme and FAO  that are engaged in Nutrition Programming and Nutritional work”,  The PI explained.

Dr. Nasur Kabunga contributing during the discussion

Dr. Nasur Kabunga, an Evaluation researcher with   Tufts University said, the most important output from the meeting was to recognize that there is a lot of work being done that needs to get out.

“Our focus is to make sure that we turn academic documents and recommendations into policy messages that can be easily picked up by the policy makers.

Going forward, with more meetings and engagements, we will be able to get all the academic materials, edit them well  in  the context of what we want to address and make it available for publication” he said.

Dr. Edgar Agaba said over 10 years, a lot of research has focused on collecting evidence that link agriculture, nutrition and gender and for the Nutrition Innovation Lab, the main focus has been to generate empirical evidence but also develop human capacity for nutritional development through grants and student scholarships in agriculture, engineering and food science.

“So the main key activities in Uganda have been research   to link agriculture to nutrition, provide human capacity development but also use that evidence to link research within policy making”, he said.

Dr. Edgar Agaba speaking on NIL Project research activities

To achieve that, Dr. Agaba said, the project embarked on a number of studies mainly focusing on agriculture and nutrition as panel surveys done in six districts in Uganda across the South and Northern Uganda but later on added on Birth cohort studies bringing the North-South pole.

He said. there a number of policy implications from the studies within the panel and birth cohort that will be merged, assessed and evidence prepared and link to policy formulation and policy change.

Some of the book chapters highlighted include:- Food Security Inequality: A case of Female and Male headed Households in Northern and South Western Uganda authored by L Ndagire, GM Diiro and Rosemary Isoto; Household nutrition outcomes of crop diversification strategy in South-western and Northern Uganda written by  R.Namulondo and B Bashaasha and; Nutritional Barriers to Agricultural Productivity in Small holder Farm Households: Panel data  evidence from Uganda authored by R Isoto Emegu, DS Kraybill  and B. Bashaasha

Dr. Rosemary Isoto presenting during the meeting

Other Book chapters are Gender and Dietary Diversity in Uganda, by B. Bashaasha, N Kabunga, P Webb, S Ghosh and Edgar Agaba; Nutritional Education to empower women with skills to enhance their household’s food and nutritional security; A case study of Moringa promotion in Mukono, Central Uganda authored by  Kabahenda Margaret and Mukama Innocent Tinka .

The other chapters are: Water quality and Nutrition through the Gender lens in Uganda written by A. Turinawe, G Omiat and B Bashaasha and the Determinants and Utilization of Complementary feeding regimes; Evidence from Uganda authored by B Bashaasha, R I Emegu, S Ghosh and Edgar Agaba and; Policies to support Improved Nutrition through Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa written by Patrick Webb, B. Bashaasha and Edgar Agaba.

Report compiled by
Jane Anyango
Principal Communication Officer, CAES



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