WASHplus Learning Brief on WASH and Nutrition

by Taj Sheriff on January 12, 2016

This first in the series of learning briefs, “WASH and Nutrition,” documents WASHplus’ WASH and nutrition integration programming efforts to stimulate the discussion and improve the evidence base as well as share experiences and approaches to integrating the two sectors at the global and country level.  WASHplus has been stimulating the discussion and improving the evidence base around integrating WASH into nutrition programming and sharing experiences and approaches to integrating the two sectors at both the country and global levels.

The brief can be found herehttp://www.washplus.org/sites/default/files/wash_nutrition-brief2015.pdf

The brief  discusses several examples of nutrition integration with WASH. For example, a two-year WASHplus program in Mali was designed as an integrated WASH and nutrition program from the start. Lessons learned from this pilot are generating dialogue and interest in integrated programming at the regional and national levels.

In Bangladesh, WASHplus has been working at the national level to integrate key WASH indicators into nutrition activities and monitoring, to both build the evidence base linking WASH and nutrition programming and increase the frequency of integrated programming.

In Uganda, WASHplus worked through other USAID partners, primarily the FANTA, SPRING, and Community Connector projects, to integrate WASH components into nutrition and food security programs. WASHplus developed a modular WASH-nutrition training and offered both stand-alone and integrated sessions and promoted small, doable actions.

The brief discusses ongoing challenges, such as that WASH is often considered after the initial design of nutrition projects, so projects improvise by identifying strategic opportunities as they arise and incorporating one or two WASH components into an established nutrition program, often without the accompanying indicators appropriate to those interventions. Without these indicators, it is difficult to quantify and justify the inclusion of WASH components. Other difficulties include that the integration of WASH into nutrition programs is one-sided: it takes place more often than nutrition being integrated into WASH programs. There can also be “message overload” if the scope and number of behavioral objectives are targeted.

The hope is that results from the integrated programming in Bangladesh, Mali, and Uganda will be validated and replicated in other countries to further build the evidence base and promote nutrition-WASH integrated programs.

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