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Impact Evaluation of a Programme to Accelerate Improved Nutrition for the Extreme Poor in Bangladesh

Rates of malnutrition in Bangladesh are among the highest in the world. The ‘DFID Programme to Accelerate Improved Nutrition for the Extreme Poor in Bangladesh’ aimed to improve nutrition outcomes for children, mothers and adolescent girls by integrating the delivery of a number of nutrition-specific interventions as part of three existing livelihoods support programmes in Bangladesh.

6/08/2014

DFID commissioned an independent impact evaluation of the programme, which was carried out under a consortium including Itad, IDS, BRAC, IFPRI, and CNRS .

The evaluation used a complementary blend of methods including a randomised control trial, qualitative community-based research, a process evaluation and a cost effectiveness study. The evaluation assessed the impact of the combination of nutrition and livelihood interventions on the nutritional status of children under two-years old, while exploring and offering insight into the programme-implementation factors, and wider societal and contextual processes which may have impacted programme outcomes.

The evaluation found that whilst there were some positive changes in some behaviours, there was no statistically significant differences in child nutrition outcomes. The evidence from the various mix of methods used suggested limitations and weaknesses identified further back along the programmes’ theory of change, both in relation to the design and implementation of the livelihood and nutrition interventions, as well as contextual and behavioural factors which may have inhibited nutrition-related behaviour change.

Ultimately, while there is undoubtably potential for improving child nutrition through holistic interventions bringing together livelihoods, social protection and nutrition specific activities, this evaluation emphasised the need for careful further thought around design details, and careful consideration of implementation of programmes at scale.

Image © Preparing vegetables for fish curry in Rangpur Photo Credit: WorldFish
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