Rwanda Field Report: Nourishing a New Generation
I am pleased to share with you the second issue of Field Reports: Lessons from Improving Nutrition at Scale. The Field Reports series aims to share lessons learned from UNICEF’s experience in supporting national governments scale-up programmes to improve maternal and child nutrition.
Our second issue charts the national scale-up of Rwanda’s point-of-use fortification programme – part of a concerted strategy to improve the quality of children’s diets and child nutrition in Rwanda. A systematic, evidence-based approach was used to assess the feasibility and acceptability of using point-of-use fortification with micronutrient powders to improve complementary foods and feeding practices. Evidence continued to inform the design of the pilot phase in 2012/13 and the subsequent scale-up.
By 2017, Rwanda had successfully scaled-up the programme to all 30 districts, becoming the first nation in Africa to have a national point-of-use fortification programme. In 2017, the programme reached about 80% of the target population, almost 432,000 children aged 6-23 months.
The Field Report explores the challenges and the critical factors that accelerated scale-up, including formative research to inform programme design, community engagement and participation, capacity building of district-level stakeholders, robust monitoring and reporting, and coordinated partnerships to support scale-up.
With a clear vision and strong national ownership, the Government of Rwanda has translated commitment into action—leading the way to innovatively and rapidly improve the quality of the diets of Rwanda’s young children. This success has been enabled with the support of several partners, notably the UNICEF-Government of the Netherlands Partnership in Nutrition.
Read and share!
Víctor M. Aguayo, PhD, MPH
Associate Director, Programme Division
Chief, Nutrition Programme | UNICEF New York