Integrating Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture

Perhaps the most basic goal within CNFA’s broader mission is to enhance the health of our beneficiaries through improved nutrition—and we managed to break new ground in doing so over the past year in Rwanda through the Feed the Future Hinga Weze Activity.

The program—which sought to improve the nutrition of vulnerable Rwandan households by increasing animal-sourced protein consumption, and by encouraging a more diverse diet—piloted a novel livestock distribution program in collaboration with the Rwandan poultry company, Uzima Chicken.

During Phase 1 of program in early 2019, Hinga Weze distributed 21,600 chickens to 3,600 households. Beneficiaries consumed 51 percent of the eggs produced and used the income from the sale of eggs and chicken to buy nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables. Moreover, they also used the income to buy fertilizers, seeds and feed—as well as to pay for other things that reinforced their health and wellbeing such as community health insurance, scholastic materials for children, and household items to support healthy sanitation and hygiene.

Based on this success, later in 2019, Hinga Weze scaled up the program to include an inventive Phase 2 under which the project trained 139 agents across 10 target districts to distribute 91,000 chickens to 14,400 households and 23 care groups.

The pilot was an unqualified success. The new consumption of protein, among other factors, contributed to an increase in the percentage of women of reproductive age who consumed a minimally diverse diet—boosting that percentage in 2019 from the planned annual target of 19.0 percent to 20.8 percent.