Nutrition and RRA

Publication year: 

This paper looks at two attempts by nutritional consultants to use a stress calendar to improve community nutrition. This technique involves plotting factors affecting nutrition on a monthly basis to see when there is likely to be a deterioration of nutritional status. Initially this was used to assist Save the Children Fund (Norway) establish the food, nutrition and health situation in their community development project area in East Palpa, Nepal. Using a diagrammatic nutritional calendar it was shown that months corresponding to the rainy season experienced a bunching of stress factors and consequent child mortality. There, the outcome was the decision to concentrate resources before the rainy season to familiarise villagers with the oral rehydration treatment of diarrhoea. Secondly it was used to examine at what time aquaculture could improve nutrition in villages on the Chipata Plateau, Zambia. Here the team noted the consumption of various foods throughout the year and they decided that the availability of fish could make a significant contribution to the diet and income of the poor. It is considered therefore that the way stress calendars portray information has a number of advantages, particularly the timing and nature of relevant interventions.

A comparison of two pieces of research for Save the Children, Norway which set out to compile "stress calendars" to improve community nutrition. There is a clear discussion of the research technique - plotting nutrition factors on a monthly basis, to establish when in the year nutritional status is most likely to be at risk. Case study areas were East Palpa, Nepal and Chipatu Plateau, Zambia. Although a smilar research technique was used, the object of the exercise was different in each case. In Nepal, the exercise determined that the greatest problems existed during the monsoon which fed into a decision to concentrate nutritional support in the period before monsoon. In Zambia the exercise determined when aquaculture could best be targetted to improve nutritional status in the villages.

Interest groups: 
Useful for those interested in using specific RRA tools for nutritional evaluation and planning, at village and district level.
Source publication information
Journal Title: 
RRA Notes
8 (January 1990)
IIED, 3 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H ODD, UK

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Shelfmark in IDS Resource Centre
A : RRA notes 263