Nutrition Transformation: Small Changes by IGNITE Client, Sasakawa Africa Association, Yield Big Results for African Farmers

The Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) is committed to supporting farmers along different value chains to increase their income as well as promote food and nutrition security. Since 2018, Tanager in partnership with Laterite and 60 Decibels has been implementing the Impacting Gender and Nutrition through Innovative Technical Exchange in Agriculture (IGNITE), a technical assistance program designed to support African institutions—including SAA—to integrate gender and nutrition into their way of doing business and their agricultural interventions.

The vegetable tent dryer in Bagwai LGA Kano state.

IGNITE aims to identify models that effectively and efficiently increase both equitable consumption of safe, affordable, nutritious diets year-round and women’s empowerment in agriculture. As part of our technical assistance to SAA, Tanager trained its nutrition champions on social and behavioral change (SBC) and nutrition best practices. The champions cascaded lessons learned to extension agents on nutrition messaging in SAA’s farming communities in Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, and Uganda.

Members of Dacewa MPCS Shabu, Lafia in Nasarawa State showcase biochar as they commence commercial production.

To ascertain the efficacy of the training and any changes related to knowledge, attitudes, and practices on nutrition and gender roles among these farming communities, 60 Decibel conducted three studies on behalf of IGNITE. The studies generated a number of key insights:

  1. The SBC training was effective, and it led to increased nutrition awareness among farmers who for a long time had struggled to incorporate macro and micronutrients due to economic constraints.
  2. Restrictive social norms can be a barrier to the cultivation and consumption of some nutritious food. When developing a training curriculum, this must be taken into consideration.
  3. In many households, men are considered the decision-makers and influence food-related decisions. As a result of the training, there has been a positive shift toward more inclusive decision-making. The SAA gender champions successfully advocated for joint decision-making and emphasized the while taking into consideration social norms.
  4. While cost was identified as a major hindrance to the consumption of healthy diets, SAA has been encouraging its farmers to consume more fruits and vegetables, which is a viable option for many.
SAA officials inspect the vegetable tent dryer in Bagwai LGA Kano state.

Through this partnership with IGNITE, SAA not only enhanced the consumption of healthy diets but embedded sustainable consumption practices among smallholder farmers.

Read more study findings