The South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (SAFANSI) seeks to address the South Asian Enigma—how chronic malnutrition remains intractable despite high economic growth—by fostering the crosscutting actions that will lead to measurable improvements in food and nutrition security (FNS).
The program was created as a targeted step to advance the FNS agenda and foster intersectoral action in the countries of the South Asia region (SAR).
Phase I of SAFANSI was implemented from 2010 to 2015 and at its close, the Program had played a catalyst role in driving the FNS agenda among countries in the region and in enhancing FNS sensitivity within the World Bank work program in SAR.
Much remains to be done to raise awareness and advocacy, build capacity and stimulate behavior change to increase food and nutrition security in the region. The second phase of the SAFANSI Program, which became effective in December 2014, builds on the success and lessons from the first phase to further the FNS agenda.
Improving Food and Nutrition Security
The objective of the South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative Phase II (SAFANSI II) Trust Fund is to improve FNS for individuals and communities in South Asia through a strengthened commitment and increased capacity for more effective and integrated FNS actions across South Asia.
SAFANSI funding can be used to finance activities in any of the countries of the South Asia Region (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) or regional activities, covering two or more SAR countries.
SAFANSI is a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank. As Trustee and Administrator, the World Bank is responsible for program development, implementation, and monitoring & evaluation. Phase II of SAFANSI is financed by DFID and the European Commission.
The sectors and themes supported by SAFANSI :
agriculture (including livestock, fishing, and forestry)
water supply and sanitation
social safety nets
health, nutrition, and population
rural policies and institutions
information and communications
The SAFANSI Strategic Approach
SAFANSI’s goal is to foster the cross-cutting actions that will lead to measurable improvements in Food and Nutrition Security. Critical to the success of this work is an increase in the commitment of governments and development partners in SAR for FNS-related policies and programs.
SAFANSI continues to engage with South Asian policy and decision-makers, civil servants, our development partners, and the technical experts who participate in thematic groups in order to achieve a consensus on the actions that must be taken.
Since 2010, SAFANSI has benefited from funding from the Department for International Development (DFID), Government of the United Kingdom; the European Commission; and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Government of Australia (for the SUNITA program in Nepal 2011) however, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect these departments’ official policies.
Last Updated: Mar 10, 2017
This recipient-executed project aims to improve nutrition and early cognitive stimulation awareness outcomes among parents/caregivers whose children attend Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs in the most deprived areas in Afghanistan. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GOIRA) finances food and nutrition interventions as part of its Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) and a range of other strategies in agriculture, education, rural development, and finance sectors. There have been some significant nutrition-related accomplishments—over 90% of children aged 6-59 months received vitamin A supplements biannually through immunization campaigns and clinics in 2012. However, the coverage of nutrition interventions (both nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive) remains inadequate.
The SAFANSI-II project supports these multi-sectoral efforts by building capacity and awareness of sound nutritional and early cognitive stimulation practices among teachers, parents, and caregivers of children aged 0-6 and by providing micronutrient supplements to most deprived areas through existing ECD facilities. As a multi-sectoral intervention, the grant will strengthen the capacity of the government to design and monitor nutrition and education outreach programs and will be overseen by a cross sectoral committee chaired by the Ministry of Education and comprising the Ministries of Public Health, Nutrition, Agriculture including its provincial representatives, as well as NGOs and civil society organizations.
Project dates: 2015 – 2018
The grant is to inform policies and actions to strengthen and sustain the enabling environment for more rapid growth, and for food and nutrition security in Bangladesh. The study on the Dynamics of Rural Growth, which was financed by SAFANSI I, undertook a comprehensive analysis of the patterns and drivers of rural growth, food security and nutritionally-sensitive growth. It analyzed the past patterns of growth, drivers of on- and off-farm productivity, evolution of farm level diversification. It formally established a causal link between agriculture, through production diversity, to dietary diversity and ultimately to nutritional outcomes. It also examined the alternative growth strategies and their impacts on food and nutritional outcomes – through dietary diversity – on households through an economy-wide model. These findings have important policy and strategy implications for Bangladesh. This grant, financed follow-on dissemination and outreach activities, including publication of the final report and key background papers, a broad dissemination workshop, and targeted outreach activities to selected policy makers, government staff and in-country practitioners and donor partners.
The study found that:
TTL: Madhur Gautam
Project dates: 2015 – 2016
This Bank-executed project’s objective is to enhance knowledge and behavioral practices that improve the intake of nutritious foods among women of reproductive age and children under the age of 5 in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. This will be achieved by developing digital content through a participatory process involving community members to promote consumption of nutritious indigenous foods threatened by an increasing influx of nutritionally void packaged food products. Communities will be trained and mentored on general nutrition, healthy and nutritious food preparation and be provided with a platform to demonstrate, share and disseminate cooking videos using simple technology. These activities are expected to contribute to the promotion of readily available and accessible nutritious foods [inclusive of indigenous foods in the CHT area] that support a sustainable system for food and nutrition security in the area.
Project dates: 2016 – 2017
This project will support the government of Bangladesh in making evidence-based decision on multisectoral nutrition programming for adolescent girls through conducting research and dissemination of its findings. The proposed task will harness the latest evidence from two surveillance projects, namely the nationally representative Food Security Nutritional Surveillance Project (FSNSP) and the Project for Advancing the Health of Newborns and Mothers (PROJAHNMO) from Sylhet.
TTL: Ziauddin Hyder
Project dates: 2016 – 2019
The project aims to provide a comprehensive assessment of the impact of conditional cash transfers on children’s cognitive development and nutrition outcomes in early ages in Bangladesh. The results of the evaluation will assess and help improve the design of a nutrition-sensitive conditional cash transfer program, and thereby contribute to a better understanding of changes in children’s nutrition and cognitive development outcomes.
TTL: Aneeka Rahman
Project dates: 2016 – 2019
The project will improve dietary diversity and care practices of pregnant and nursing women in remote rural areas in Bhutan which will address malnutrition in the first 1,000 day window of opportunity. This will be carried out by identifying change agents and drivers of food habits to develop materials and collaboratively engage target groups in behavior change communication (BCC) activities in Samtse Dzongkhag. The two proposed components follow a BCC theory of change. By way of a series of studies and pilots, digital content, participatory platforms, and/or exposure visits will be developed and organized. Furthermore, the project will strengthen the enabling environment for GAFSP-funded FSAPP by rooting the project in very specific social contexts, distilling and aiming to address the multiple drivers of malnutrition. This will help ensure both acceptability of interventions among involved communities, sustainability of improved practices and potential for scaling-up.
TTL: Winston Dawes
Project dates: 2016 - 2019
The objective of this activity is to support cross country knowledge sharing and capacity building of Bhutan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) project team, and learn from community based, market-driven approaches in Nepal and Pakistan, in order to improve the design and implementation of the GAFSP-funded Food Security and Agriculture Productivity Project (FSAPP).
TTL: Winston Dawes
Project dates: 2016 - 2017
The primary objectives of this task are to better understand the barriers to improved nutrition and health in North East India and to help state governments develop strategies and programs to address these issues. The program will identify gaps in maternal and child health and nutrition services for disadvantaged communities, and support development of cross-sectoral strategies to combat malnutrition at the community level. This will be done through analytical work (involving both primary and secondary data analysis) to identify gaps and bottlenecks, informing the development of contextual and feasible strategies and technical assistance aimed at improving program design..
TTL: Patrick Mullen
The objective of this grant is to produce estimates of the burden of malnutrition and disease for four states in India – Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, and Meghalaya – consistent with the estimates and methods used for the overall Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Project. GBD provides tools to quantify levels and trends of health loss due to diseases (including malnutrition), injuries, and risk factors for 187 countries from 1990 to 2010. It is a collaborative project of nearly 500 researchers in 50 countries led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Co-financed with the Gates Foundation, the SAFANSI-II project in India is to produce an essential tool for evidence-based nutrition and health policymaking and comparative metrics for different causes of premature death and disability. In this phase, the project is to identify data and networks of collaborators and make preliminary estimates for the four states.
TTL: Ramesh Govindaraj
Project Date: 2015 – 2016
With SAFANSI-I, Social Observatory (SO) was set up to (a) diagnose how market, government, and behavioral failures affect food and nutrition security (FNS) outcomes, (b) use these diagnoses to improve designs of ongoing rural livelihoods development projects in India, such as Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project (JEEVIKA) and Tamil Nadu Empowerment and Poverty Reduction project, and (c) improve the implementation of these interventions by building adaptive capacity. The objective of SAFANSI-II project is to consolidate the work under SAFANSI-I, to further improve adaptive capacity, while improving the diagnosis of how market and government failures affect food security; supporting an experimentation-based approach to improve program design and implementation for FNS outcomes; taking the SO approach to new program interventions that aim to improve the functioning of the top-down public programs for food and nutrition security in India; and seeding a system of adaptive capacity to catalyze implementation for FNS outcomes in one new, nutrition focused programs in South Asia.
Thus far, SO has developed innovative tools and techniques, such as FNS participatory-tracking to improve the adaptive capacity of large-scale projects. The tools have helped substantially improve implementation of four targeted rural livelihoods projects in effectively addressing food and nutrition insecurity. SO has also collected primary data, including food prices paid by poor and rich. The team published 11 notes and reports related to Bihar and Tamil Nadu data collection thus far. SO has measured the extent of differences in prices paid by the poor and rich, within the same village, for the same foods, demonstrated how an intervention can change gender norms in a highly patriarchal society, and developed an important new method to allow large numbers of citizens to measure and track their own progress on food and nutrition security related issues.
There also are 12 articles and briefs about SO on the Bank external websites, and 8 YouTube videos on methodologies and stakeholder interviews. More information is available at the Social Observatory Website.
TTL: Vijayendra Rao
Project Date: 2015 – 2019
The project will support the state government in determining the overall strategy and design of a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program aimed at improving maternal and child health and nutrition practices and service utilization within the critical 1,000 day period. It will draw on the implementation experience of CCT programs in India, including in Madhya Pradesh, as well as on lessons and best practice from international experience. Technical support will also be provided for piloting the CCT program, through the development of systems required for implementation such as (i) systems for registration of beneficiaries and recording achievement of conditions, (ii) payment systems (iii) operational procedures and manuals (iv) communication and awareness generation (v) monitoring and evaluation systems (vi) strategies for inter-departmental coordination; and (vii) grievance redressal mechanisms. While the state government is expected to finance and lead the implementation of the pilot, continued technical assistance will be provided by the Bank to ensure implementation and monitoring systems developed are working effectively.
Project Date: 2017 – 2019
The project aims to increase household access to micronutrients and enhance the contribution of the dairy sector to improving food and nutrition security of these households in India. This would test and demonstrate the operational, technical and financial feasibility of the production and marketing of Vitamin A- and D-fortified milk through milk unions, as well as build the capacity of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to serve as a national resource center for milk fortification. The proposed project will permit the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to:
(i) Pilot a business model for fortified milk production; and
(ii) Generate options for consumer promotion and scale-up within the National Dairy Support Project.
Project Date: 2016 – 2019
The main objective of this SAFANSI project is to provide technical assistance to monitoring and evaluation activities of agriculture and nutrition linkages interventions of the Rural Inclusive Growth (RIG) project in Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Telangana.
TTLs: Parmesh Shah
Project Date: 2016 – 2017
The project is to undertake impact evaluations (IEs) for the Agricultural and Food Security Project (AFSP) and the SAFANSI I-funded Sunaula Hazar Din (SHD) Community Action for Nutrition Project. The AFSP IE focuses on the impact of the technology adoption and nutrition enhancement components at mid-term. The IE is to measure the impact of (a) AFSP’s agricultural initiatives on yield, income, and nutritional practices, including nutrition-specific interventions, such as kitchen gardens and backyard poultry and (b) Behavior Change Communication (BCC), particularly its adoption of gender and social context. AFSP is financed by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), which also finances baseline and endline surveys. In filling the critical gap to inform the design and implementation, SAFANSI-II is to finance mid-term IE and dissemination. The firm selection is on-going, and the data collection is expected to commence in September 2016.
SHD IE is to assess, through a household survey, effectiveness of an innovative Rapid Results Approach (RRA), by which communities are motivated to achieve a self-selected goal in 100 day cycles on nutrition outcomes and community development. The quantitative survey will measure, in particular, impact on goal setting and nutrition outcomes in having a woman-led community rapid results team and/or being encouraged by an external expert base on their nutrition profile. Building on the baseline supported by the DFAT-funded SUNITA work under SAFANSI-I, SAFANSI-II finances mid-term IE, a small endline survey, and dissemination. Despite delays due to earthquake and fuel crisis, the mid-term IE completed data collection. The preliminary data analysis indicates moderate impact of the SHD intervention on some of the main indicators (e.g., % of pregnant women taking IFA supplements for 180 days, % of households reporting using improved toilet facilities, etc.). However, it is not clear how it relates to goal choice at village level, which will be further analyzed together with the SAFANSI-II financed qualitative survey (see below). The mid-term IE, together with the qualitative survey, is expected to influence policies and support SHD scale up.
TTL: Susumu Yoshida
Project Date: 2015 – 2018
The objective of this grant is to improve the evidence base and understanding of the design and process of Sunaula Hazar Din (SHD, Community Action for Nutrition Project) at the community level. Paying special attention to gender and social inclusion perspectives (e.g., low caste and ethnic minorities), the evidence on the nutritional outcomes and social dynamics generated by the study will provide strong design and implementation inputs to SHD, and to dialogues on health and nutrition improvement in Nepal. Key research questions include how goals are selected at the community level; what roles coaches play in achieving goals; how having a female leader influences the RRA outcomes; how the communities perceive success and failure of the initiatives; and why certain groups succeed and others fail. Given the mega-earthquake that hit the country in April 2015, the study questions and methodologies will take into account the influence the earthquake might have had on the approach and intended outcomes.
TTL: Kaori Oshima
Project Date: 2015 – 2018
The grant development objective of the INPARD program is to investigate whether a multi-sectoral rural development program can be utilized to deliver nutrition promotion intervention within rural Sri Lanka and whether this is effective in improving nutrition outcomes. Building on social capital developed by a Bank-financed community driven development project, ReAwaking Project (RaP), in conflict-affected North East Province, SAFANSI-I financed Integrating Nutrition Promotion and Rural Development (INPARD) Project. INPARD supported nutrition promotion activities implemented through multi-sectoral government stakeholders, including health, agriculture, rural development, administration, education, fisheries and Samurdhi (poverty eradication national program). INPARD’s multi-sectoral approach in nutrition generated substantial interests in academia and among international agencies. In 2015, INPARD was presented at a symposium on multi-sectoral approaches to nutrition promotion hosted by Sri Lanka Medical Association Scientific Sessions, Global Food Security Conference in Ithaca, and International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) in Edinburgh, and WHO’s dialogues on non-communicable disease prevention. It will also be presented at the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) conference in Brazil in May 2016.
The SAFANSI II program finances a follow-up impact evaluation and dissemination activities. It is envisaged that the evaluation, composed of household survey and multi-stakeholder focus group discussions, is to build evidence to demonstrate linkages between health and nutrition outcomes and their upstream determinants, such as socioeconomic context, education, occupation, and income. The team completed data collection, and data are being analyzed. The results will be shared at two regional workshops with multi-sectoral teams (consisting of consists of stakeholders from health, agriculture, rural development, administration, education, fisheries and Samurdhi (poverty eradication national program), amongst others), and presented at a South Asian Symposium later in 2016.
Additionally, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda has highlighted the promotion of health by preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through SDG three. The INPARD project shows how the food and nutrition security agenda could be linked with the poverty eradication agenda and the NCD prevention agenda. The World Health Organization has already recognized INPARD as a case study to show how UN system can work together to link these SDG (1, 2 and 3) and develop programs with multi-sectoral approaches.
Project Date: 2015 – 2017
The overall development goal of this project is to strengthen the allocative and technical efficiencies for country-led planning, budgeting, and prioritization of nutrition interventions through health, nutrition, population, social protection, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, and agriculture and rural development programs in up to 5 high-burden countries in South Asia (i.e. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka), and thereby enhance the impact of national and international investments. The SAFANSI-II project finances costing analyses, including (a) costing for the scale-up of nutrition interventions, (b) performing cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) comparing different scale up scenarios (e.g. scale up by intervention package, scale-up by sub-region/state), (c) building capacity by training national staff in the methodology and the use of the costing and CEA tools to identify the most effective interventions for scale-up, and (d) disseminating the findings at the appropriate national, regional and global fora, with a focus on facilitating south to south exchanges. The project is co-financed by UNICEF and Gates Foundation.
TTL: Meera Shekar
Project Date: 2015 – 2017
The grant aims to increase opportunities for improved food and nutrition security of targeted communities in Nuwakot district through winter food production, and training seed banks, food preservation, and food enterprise development/management. Prior to the earthquake, Nuwakot was categorized as minimally food insecure with a pre-existing global acute malnutrition prevalence of 9.9%. However, after the earthquake, the district was classified as one of the most food insecure districts in Nepal, because agricultural production has been interfered by displacement of families, damage to land, and disruption of livelihood supply chains. The project is implemented by the Federation of Business and Professional Women in Nepal (FBPWN), with support from the Tarayana Foundation in Bhutan, which includes a (a) donation of 1,000 packs of germinated winter vegetable seeds, (b) training farmers, mostly women, in organic vegetable production, (c) training the farmers in community food bank management, food preservation techniques, and nutrition/meal design and preparation education, and (d) providing business development services to producers to create sustainable food enterprises that can continue to serve local markets.
Project dates: 2016 – 2017
The grant (a) creates an evidence based public policy dialogue via offline and online communication platforms on estate nutrition issues to lead to the development of an estate nutrition plan of action; and (b) develops a collaborative network of public, private and NGO partners engaged in advocacy, community mobilization and ICT to take forward the development and implementation of an estate nutrition plan of action. Over the last decades, studies have shown that the estate nutrition status is lagging behind the rest of the country, despite many nutrition and health interventions. In previous round, the SAFANSI-financed study has identified gaps in multi-sectoral approaches to nutrition interventions, suggesting improved knowledge and understanding of the multi-sectoral determinants of nutrition. This grant supports mapping of key stakeholders and pilot innovative communication outreach in Estate, using ICT and social media.
Project dates: 2016 – 2017 (completed)
Last Updated: Apr 27, 2017
SAFANSI has supported cutting edge research across all South Asian countries on the intersection between food and nutrition security. You may explore this research below.
Policy Note 4: Nutrition information with the pilot cash transfer program
One Dish Meals of South Asia
Since 2010, SAFANSI has benefited from funding and support from: