The Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) Program was recently awarded an A+ rating from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in its Project Completion Review.
The program, which ran from 2012 to 2018, focused its work in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan – countries with high rates of undernutrition and large agricultural sectors. It was carried out by a consortium of partners, led by the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation.
Martin Broadley and Rachel Lambert, with the Agricultural Research Team in DFID's Research & Evidence Division, wrote in a recent blog about the project: “Despite being a relatively small actor … LANSA has already helped to change the public and political discourse on nutrition sensitive agriculture in the region.”
In the post, they detailed LANSA's particular contributions in areas including women's roles in agriculture and implications for their and their children's nutritional status, pro-nutrition value chain work, and influence on regional networks and initiatives. They also drew attention to the large number of peer-reviewed publications produced by researchers during LANSA's tenure.
Stuart Gillespie, Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), a consortium partner, served as LANSA's research director. In reflecting on the project, he noted "over its six years, LANSA generated a significant body of cutting-edge research on agri-food systems and nutrition in South Asia. This work highlighted the pivotal importance of enabling environments for pro-nutrition agriculture and elucidated the pathways through which agriculture could be effectively leveraged for nutritional gain. Women's empowerment and diversity (of production and diet) were key drivers of improved nutrition."
Gillespie, who also leads A4NH's flagship research program on Supporting Policies, Programs, and Enabling Action through Research (SPEAR), added, "LANSA's success did not rest on the research findings alone – it revolved around an innovative approach to working collaboratively across national and disciplinary lines to maximize the value of global and local knowledge."
Broadley and Lambert echoed this attention to LANSA's collaborative approach in their blog: "LANSA's strong partnerships with leading international research groups, including in the UK, have been pivotal to their success. Findings in one country often have wider relevance across the region, and LANSA was able to draw together these regional insights.”
For additional information about the LANSA program, please read the January 2019 special issue of Food Policy dedicated to the program’s results, as well as this highlight in the 2018 A4NH Annual Report.
To truly address the double burden of malnutrition, research, policy, and goal setting cannot overlook political and economic drivers.
All-African team from TNWA and the African Nutrition Leadership Programme (ANLP) led the five-day short course to facilitate capacity strengthening.
The conference provided an example of how work done by different A4NH flagships open opportunities for experience sharing across countries.