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FHI 360 addresses nutrition and health challenges in Afghanistan

February 09, 2017 —

FHI 360 is launching a five-year, US$75 million, multisectoral integrated project in Afghanistan that will address the country’s health and nutrition challenges. The USAID Initiative for Hygiene, Sanitation and Nutrition, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and supported by the Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health, aims to improve the nutritional status of women of reproductive age and children who are less than 5 years old, with a focus on the first 1,000 days (from conception to 24 months of age). The expected outcomes of the project are to decrease stunting by at least 5 percent (reduce the current rate by two percentage points) over five years and to reduce anemia among women of reproductive age by at least 10 percent.

woman walking with girlFHI 360 is the prime implementing organization of this project, working with five partners: Aga Khan Foundation, Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, Humanitarian Assistance and Development Association for Afghanistan, International Rescue Committee, and Silk Route Training and Research Organization. Initially, the project will be implemented in 10 districts of Afghanistan: Badakhshan, Badghis, Bamyan, Farah, Ghor, Kunar, Nangarhar, Nuristan, Paktika and Samangan. Over time, some project activities will be replicated or scaled up to include all provinces.

Working with local and international organizations and the Afghanistan government, the project’s specific objectives are to:

  • Improve the delivery of nutrition, hygiene and sanitation services, with a particular focus on the existing public health system’s basic package of health services
  • Strengthen alternative delivery systems, such as civil society organizations, through innovative practices to reach the most vulnerable groups, including the urban poor
  • Foster rapid adoption of optimal nutrition, hygiene and sanitation behaviors at the household and community levels
  • Increase the availability of nutrition and sanitation products and services

To ensure that a variety of voices are included in the project, a technical advisory group and an advisor from USAID will jointly manage and monitor the Innovation Fund. The technical advisory group will consist of representatives from several stakeholders, including the Ministry of Public Health; the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development; and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.

“We are thrilled to be part of this project supporting USAID/Afghanistan in assisting the Government of Afghanistan, civil society organizations and the private sector to improve the nutritional status of women and children,” said Prakash Kant Silwal, FHI 360’s Chief of Party for the project.

“In addition, this funding will help some of the most vulnerable Afghanis by providing Innovation Fund grants to civil society organizations at the grassroots community level. Health groups, schools, women’s shuras, farmers’ groups and religious leaders will benefit from the testing and scaling up of promising nutrition behavior change models. The project will support activities that introduce low-cost, appropriate technologies to improve food production, post-harvest processing techniques and consumption at the community level, which will also save women’s time. Our goal is to facilitate greater reach and quality of high-impact, cost-effective and evidence-based nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene interventions in Afghanistan.”

The project, along with the Afghanistan Family Planning, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health project and the University Support and Workforce Development Program, supports FHI 360’s overarching goal of finding a comprehensive solution to improving lives in Afghanistan.


Photo credit: iStock.com/MivPiv