Towards a smarter model of reducing malnutrition: Launch of Focus 1000-ODI Research Findings from the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium
The Ebola outbreak not only exposed major challenges in Sierra Leone’s health system but also revealed ‘blind spots’ in over ten years’ of international support to the country, according to new research from the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC). These blind spots have meant that efforts to reduce malnutrition have been overlooking important aspects of the problem.
Since April 2013, the Sierra Leone country programme of the SLRC – led by researchers from Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and FOCUS 1000 and funded by Irish Aid – has been looking at how development partners can support improved strategies to prevent malnutrition. The research, based primarily in Kambia district but also involving extensive interviews in Freetown, sought to understand why, malnutrition rates remain high and what government and development partners can do to more effectively tackle the problem. The research has aimed to generate findings that contribute towards evidence-informed policy making around this important issue.
The research findings suggest that capacity building to reduce malnutrition has been thought about and operationalized in a narrow, technical manner. In particular, this approach overlooks:
- the plurality of the health system;
- how individuals and households make decisions about nutrition and health-seeking behaviour
- important relational and social aspects of capacity; and
- the wider system in which organisations and individuals work.
To address these gaps, the research argues that we need a smarter approach to capacity building. This should: pay greater attention to the intangible aspects of capacity, particularly those related to state-society relations; engage more thoroughly with the ways in which people and communities actually make decisions about healthcare; and lose the modular approach to capacity, which tends to focus on individuals and organisations to the neglect of the wider system.
This event presented and elaborated on these research findings, and provide an opportunity for questions and discussion. Read the report 'Urgent action required to tackle root cause of malnutrition in Sierra Leone' here
Watch the Star TV, Sierra Leone: SLRC-FOCUS 1000 Malnutrition Reports Launch on YouTube: