Good nutrition for pregnant women and infants is essential to lifelong health. In particular, children without proper nutrition during their first 1,000 days – roughly from conception through age two – can suffer irreversible physical, cognitive and behavioral growth damage. The intervention in Djibouti takes an innovative approach to improving nutrition and boosting growth, by twinning a workfare program for women with nutrition-related support for both them and their young children. The evaluation results will improve policymakers’ understanding of whether traditional growth monitoring and nutrition programs are more effective when women in the program also have the chance to earn money they can spend on their families.
Research area: Early Childhood Nutrition, Development, and Health
Evaluation Sample: Pregnant women and their children up to two years of age in poor areas (urban and rural) in Djibouti.
Timeline: 2012 - 2016
Intervention: Community nutrition sessions, workfare
Researchers: Stefanie Brodmann, World Bank; Florencia Devoto, Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL); Emanuela Galasso, World Bank
In Djibouti, roughly two in five people live beneath the poverty line. The situation has been exacerbated in recent years because of the rise in global food prices and a severe drought that began in 2007 and cut annual economic growth by almost four percent through 2011. Almost a third of the country’s children aged five and under are stunted, a rate comparable to that seen in much poorer sub-Saharan countries. The Government of Djibouti is piloting a workfare program for women, in conjunction with nutrition-focused community meetings, as part of its new safety nets strategy. This evaluation will help the government decide how to scale up efforts to improve nutrition for pregnant women and young children.