Pathways to Diverse Diets - a Retrospective Analysis of a Participatory Nutrition-Sensitive Project in Kenya

Elsevier, Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 5, 1 December 2021
Boedecker J., Lachat C., Hawwash D., Van Damme P., Nowicki M., Termote C.
Background: There is a current need for better understanding the impact of nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions. This study is based on a community-based participatory project that diversified diets of women and children by making use of local food biodiversity. This retrospective impact pathway analysis aims at explaining why and how impact was reached. Objectives: This study aimed to understand how a nutrition-sensitive agriculture project improved people's diets by analyzing the pathways from agriculture to nutrition. It also aimed to test theoretical pathways by comparing the documented pathways with those from a widely used framework from the literature. Methods: A qualitative study was conducted in 2019 through 10 semistructured focus group discussions with community members engaging in the project and 5 key informant interviews with local authorities that worked with these communities during the project. Summative content analysis was used to identify pathways through which the project affected diets of beneficiaries. The defined pathways were compared with the pathways of the widely used Tackling the Agriculture-Nutrition Disconnect in India (TANDI) framework from the literature. Results: Out of the agriculture-nutrition pathways that are presented in the literature, 3 were found in the responses: 1) food from own production; 2) income from sale of foods produced; and 3) women's empowerment through access to and control over resources. In addition, 5 other pathways were identified and indicated spillover effects from the intervention to the control participants, increased nutrition knowledge, improved health, savings, and empowerment and harmony in the household. Conclusions: Pathway analysis in nutrition-sensitive agriculture can provide valuable understanding on how and why dietary improvements have been achieved in an intervention. The approach can hence be instrumental in addressing the current demand within the field on understanding the progress and impact of interventions. Pathway analysis also helps to address knowledge gaps regarding theoretical frameworks, as in the present study, concerning women empowerment pathways.