A brief history of the Gender-Nutrition Idea Exchange

Photo by Sue Canney Davison

Photo by Sue Canney Davison.

What’s the purpose of the Gender-Nutrition Idea Exchange? Hazel Malapit, Gender Research Coordinator for A4NH, gives us a brief history of why we’ve started this blog and how we envision it helping researchers working on gender and nutrition issues in agriculture.


“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” - John Steinbeck


This blog is the continuation of a conversation that started last December in Nairobi.


In December 2013, A4NH hosted a workshop that brought together researchers and partners to talk about how applying a gender lens to agricultural research can help achieve nutrition objectives. We came out of that workshop with a shared understanding of how agricultural interventions influence nutrition along different pathways, and where gender fits into this framework. We talked to gender and nutrition experts on which indicators can be used to assess impact, how to collect these data in the field, and how to apply new methods – qualitative and quantitative – to fully integrate gender and nutrition in our agricultural research.


As researchers with a common purpose, we want to know who’s doing what in the gender-nutrition-agriculture sphere, and be informed about how different projects are dealing with these issues in the field. We want to be able to ask each other questions on how to design, conduct, analyze and communicate our research, and have a go-to place for sharing new ideas, best practices, and general guidance on gender and nutrition. Now, with the Gender-Nutrition Idea Exchange, we can do just that.


In this space, A4NH will invite resource persons to share their views or discuss a topic in a blog post which you can then respond to by adding comments. Initially, we will try to answer the most common questions that emerged from the Nairobi workshop. Over time, however, we expect that you – our readers – would help shape this blog by suggesting new topics and resource persons, asking questions, providing comments, and sharing resources that other researchers might find useful. We need your help to make sure this blog addresses your needs.


Welcome to GNIE, the Gender-Nutrition Idea Exchange!


Help us make this blog better! Contact us at CRP-A4NH@cgiar.org.


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  1. georgekent says:


    Hi Hazel and all --

    I would like to see some discussion about the ways in which home gardening can be of special interest to women.

    In that context, special attention should be given to the ways in which gardens can be used to produce complementary foods for infants and young children. A good deal of work has already been done on school gardens (as in Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2010. A New Deal For School Gardens. Rome:FAO), but attention should also be given to the ways in which gardening can contribute to the diets of pre-school children.

    As the World Health Organization explains on its website, complementary foods should be added to the diet of the child when breast milk is no longer enough to meet the child's nutritional needs. FAO discusses the important of complementary feeding on its website. However, neither agency discusses the potentials for home gardening and processing for producing complementary foods for young children.

    Home gardening can be taken to include not only the raising of fruits and vegetables but also the raising of small animals. These can be of particular importance in the diets of young children, as discuss in Jin Minchao and Lora L. Iannotti 2014. "Livestock production, animal source food intake, and young child growth: The role of gender for ensuring nutrition impacts." Social Science & Medicine, January 11.

    Home gardening for children can be taken to include not only primary production but also a modest level of processing of the products.

    There is potential for income generation from local small-scale production of complementary foods, as illustration in Action Against Hunger International 2013. Project "Porridge Mums": Combining Income Generating Activities and Undernutrition Prevention. ACF Case Study, Guinea Conakry.

    Home gardening for children can produce foods to be be consumed by young children, and it can also serve a site for introducing them to the practice of gardening.

    I think the idea of home gardening for children deserves attention.

    Aloha, George Kent
    University of Hawai'i (Emeritus)

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