BRAC engages key stakeholders and fosters knowledge sharing

An impressive panel, thoughtful presentations and good participation from stakeholders

The BRAC/LANSA team hosted a stakeholder event at their offices in central Dhaka on 7 April 2014. On the panel were former Finance Minister, Syeduzzaman (member of LANSA’s Consortium Advisory Group), Advisor to the Executive Director of BRAC, Mahabub Hossain and Joachim von Braun, Director of the Center for Development Research (also on LANSA’s advisory group). Attending the event were government officials from key Ministries including Health and Family Welfare, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, high level representatives from organisations such as GAIN, Helen Keller Institute, USAID, Food and Agriculture Organization, and research bodies such as Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institutes. Two media outlets also participated.

LANSA's purpose

The opening comments both summed up the purpose of the day, and LANSA’s rationale... The agenda for research has become more complicated. It is recognised that chronic undernutrition is intergenerational, and that the focus should be on children under two and pregnant and adolescent women and girls. However, the cost of a healthy diet, and particularly protein, has increased putting it out of reach for the poorest families in Bangladesh. With undernutrition affected by much more than food it is clear that a host of instruments are required to address it. While Bangladesh has made good progress in recent years there is still a long way to go. In order to reduce undernutrition policy makers and practitioners need the evidence base to inform their strategies and actions. Research can help with this.

Stakeholder interviews

LANSA’s research plans, initial research work and findings from recent interviews with influential stakeholders were presented at the meeting. Having conducted the interviews Barnali Chakraborty (BRAC) presented initial analysis that had been prepared by Mara van den Bold (IFPRI). Some stakeholders felt that nutrition is increasingly recognised as a priority: policy documents now include nutrition and there are increasing nutrition sensitive interventions. Other stakeholders felt that nutrition is not yet sufficiently supported: food security and agriculture are definite priorities for government, but not yet nutrition. An issue that came up again and again was that although nutrition needs a multi-sectoral response, the different sectors don’t work together. People in agriculture invariably don’t recognise the potential to address nutrition. E.g. there is increasing investment in rice and cereals, but these are not nutritious crops. The full analysis from the stakeholder interviews will be shared in June, on LANSA’s website.

Call for proposals

The meeting included an open forum session for participants to present initiatives aimed at improving nutrition through agriculture. Presentations included those from: Helen Keller International, Bangladesh, BRAC Institute of Global Health, Institute of Food Policy Research Institute, Bangladesh and USAID, Bangladesh. A discussion around research priorities was led by Stuart Gillespie, and is being used to inform a call for proposals.
 

Julia Powell
Wednesday, May 14, 2014

South Asia Focus

Funded by UK DFID

This research has been funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK Government’s official policies

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