Action - Feed the Future: The U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative - Management of severe acute malnutrition - Pregnant women (PW)|Women of reproductive age (WRA)

Programme: Feed the Future: The U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative

Programme description

Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, is establishing a foundation for lasting progress against global hunger. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth that increases incomes and reduces hunger, poverty, and undernutrition. Feed the Future efforts are driven by country-led priorities and rooted in partnership with governments, donor organizations, the private sector, and civil society to enable long-term success. Feed the Future aims to assist millions of vulnerable women, children, and family members to escape hunger and poverty, while reaching significant numbers of children with highly effective nutrition interventions to prevent stunting and child mortality.

Over the next five years in Zambia, Feed the future aims to help an estimated 263,000 vulnerable Zambian women, children and family members—mostly smallholder farmers—escape hunger and poverty. More than 173,000 children will be reached with services to improve their nutrition and prevent stunting and child mortality. Significant numbers of additional rural populations will achieve improved income and nutritional status from strategic policy engagement and institutional investments.

To meet its objectives, Feed the Future Zambia is making core investments in four key areas:

1. Oilseeds, legumes, maize and horticulture value chains

  • Research on drought-tolerant maize, integrated legume systems, and aflatoxin-reduction in groundnuts
  • Improved marketing and commodity value-addition
  • Peri-urban smallholder horticulture market development through public-private partnerships

2. Enabling Environment

  • Analysis and advocacy to improve agriculture policy
  • Support for development and implementation of a comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme Country Investment Plan

3. Economic Resilience

  • Improving household-level food security
  • Ensuring gender equity
  • Sustainable technologies/conservation agriculture for vulnerable households

4. Nutrition

  • Scaling Up Nutrition(SUN) efforts
  • Strengthened health and nutrition systems
  • Improved vitamin A-rich maize and sweet potatoes for vulnerable groups

Target Regions

Feed the Future is focusing its efforts in two areas: the Eastern Province, with a value chain focus on oilseeds, legumes and maize; and selected peri-urban districts near Lusaka, connecting to Eastern Province, with a particular focus on horticulture. 


Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) process. Zambia’s CAADP Compact was signed in January 2011, and development of the Zambia CAADP Country Investment Plan has begun. Through this Compact the Government of the Republic of Zambia is committed to the following:

  • Agriculture marketing and credit acts
  • Fertilizer distribution reform, e-vouchers
  • Increasing private sector role

Diversification of staple crop production. Diversification of selected staple value chains will:

  • Lead to increased smallholders' productivity of all commodities, including maize
  • Increase income through higher value commodities and access to value-addition and export markets
  • Diversify diets and minimize risk of food scarcity
  • Contribute to a reduction in high rates of child undernutrition

Gender. The Zambia strategy strives to maximize the positive impact on female farmers and ensure equitable benefits for men and women by:

  • Ensuring women can participate in economic opportunities throughout the value chains
  • Preventing women from being displaced from the value chains with increased commercialization  
  • Ensuring farm technologies are appropriate for both men and women

Programme type




Start date:


End date:

Eastern Province
Target group: 
Pregnant women (PW)
Women of reproductive age (WRA)
Primary health care center
Implementation details : 





FTF Zambia is investing in capacity-building and training of health workers to improve nutrition services and nutrition education. The nutrition program will include a national mass media campaign around the Essential Nutrition Actions that will be linked to community-level behavioral and social change communications. Additionally, the program will build strong linkages to rural health services and nutrition interventions. The nutrition program is largely managed by USAID/Zambia’s Health and HIV Offices, but activities by the USAID Economic Growth Team and Centers for Disease Control will also contribute.

The Government of Zambia has recently refocused on the poor national nutrition levels by developing a National Nutrition Strategy and holding a National Nutrition Consultative Forum to discuss the strategy. Zambia has also been selected as an Early Riser under the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Initiative promoted by the U.S. and a wide range of other donors. The USG participates in a recently formed Nutrition Donor Convener Group, chaired by DFID and UNICEF, under the Health Sector Working Group. The USG can play an important role in raising concern over nutrition levels within the country, coordinating USG and other donor investments, and supporting government efforts to intensify efforts to address undernutrition.

Nutrition Programming
FTF Agriculture and Food-based Nutrition Programming. FTF agriculture investments will contribute to improved nutritional outcomes through several approaches. Improved incomes for poor households as a result of improved agricultural practices and better market access can translate into improved household food availability, although this is usually not sufficient for changes in child nutritional status. FTF agricultural investments will also improve the quantity and quality of staple foods in Eastern province, resulting in reduced prices for poor households, most of which purchase food for several months of the year. In addition, FTF food-based strategies will result in more nutritious foods through strategies such as bio-fortification and breeding, particularly through increasing dissemination and production of beta-carotene-rich ―orange‖ maize and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Household-based approaches through the Economic Resilience programs, described in greater detail in Section 4.3 above, will focus on more equitable food distribution/income control and on communicating behavioral change messages on essential nutrition actions at the household level. These programs will also ensure that all nutrition-related activities are consistent with and support other nutrition programming, for example in nutrition training of agricultural workers and extension staff, or capacity-building of community workers other than community-based health workers. Other potential food based strategies include school feeding linkages with organizations such as the World Food Program, with the introduction of nutritious products such as soy-based products or orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.

FTF Nutrition-related Programming through the Health Sector. USG investments in the health sector are extensive and broad and make a major contribution to the status of Zambians’ health. Many of these programs have components that directly address nutrition through improving health outcomes, reducing incidence of diseases such as malaria, vaccine preventable diseases, intestinal worm infestation, etc., providing food to PLWA, and supporting orphans and vulnerable children, among others.

The USAID Health Office invests in four programs supporting systemic change in health services. These programs include support for:

  1. logistics,
  2. integrated social marketing,
  3. integrated systems strengthening, and
  4. integrated behavior change communications.

The logistics program focuses on improvements in commodities and supply chains for a wide array of critical inputs such as antiretroviral drugs, family planning inputs, and bed nets. Social marketing is conducted for all important areas, including family planning, HIV prevention and inputs, and malaria. Broad spectrum media campaigns are conducted under the integrated behavior change communication investments. These campaigns are conducted at national, provincial and community levels to elicit change in a wide range of health-related behaviors.

The following national-level interventions will be considered:

  • Improved effectiveness of nutrition services in health facilities and at the community level.
  • Significantly increased focus on women, especially pregnant women at nutritional risk (low body mass index (BMI) and those under the age of 20).
  • Developed capacity of managers, health care providers and community volunteers in regard to nutrition interventions, particularly ensuring that Essential Nutrition Actions are coordinated and implemented in all health facilities at the district level.
  • Integrated curricula, such as from the ―Community Pack for maternal and child feeding‖ (Behavioral Change Communication (BCC) messages and materials) into community health worker and health care provider training.

Recommendations for rural areas include the following:

  • Strengthen the ―promotion‖ component of growth monitoring and promotion programs.
  • Coordinateand link food security and nutrition interventions across all sectors at the district level, including the school feeding program.

In addition to interventions that strengthen the health system and refocus efforts on nutrition behavior change, the FTF strategy proposes to link health, nutrition, economic resilience, and economic growth activities at the household-level, to the extent this is feasible and cost-effective. Two approaches will be adopted:

  • The co-location of programs aimed to strengthen the impacts of the agriculture and health systems. Impact on incomes and nutrition will be monitored in districts with a concentration of both value chain interventions and nutrition system strengthening.
  • Some interventions will target a sub-set of district households, ensuring an impact for all household members, not just for specific members. Targeted economic resilience programs will promote household-level approaches to resource allocation, including both productive resources and household food supplies, and the intra-household allocation of those resources across family members.

FTF Nutrition-related Investments through HIV/AIDS Programming. Another significant contributor to child malnutrition is the high rate of pediatric HIV/AIDS. Based on a 2010 technical update on WHO guidelines, for infants and young children known to be HIV-infected, mothers are strongly encouraged to breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months and to continue breastfeeding, with adequate supplementary feeding, up to 2 years and beyond. Therefore all infants 6 months of age and older need additional, developmentally and nutritionally appropriate food sources, as breast milk is no longer sufficient. Hence, nutrition-related HIV/AIDS interventions are also under development by the USG in Zambia, and these investments will have an impact on the reduction of undernutrition in children below age 2.

High prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency in rural Zambia. Vitamin A deficiency is a long-standing public health problem in Zambia due to inadequate dietary intake. The Ministry of Health distributes vitamin A supplements during the twice-yearly child health weeks and sugar is fortified with Vitamin A. Nonetheless, according to the 2007 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey vitamin A deficiency (VAD) continues to affect 54 percent of Zambian children under 5 and women of reproductive age. These high levels of VAD may be attributed to the high prevalence of asymptomatic infections in the Zambian population. Increasing the intake of Vitamin A through a wider range of sources, combined with health interventions, including those to prevent and treat infectious disease, will decrease defiency in many vulnerable groups. Biofortified crops have a high potential to increase Vitamin A content in diets, particularly of rural households that produce their own food and have limited consumption of fortified products.

Potential agriculture activities include:

  • Dissemination of Vitamin A maize in Eastern province.
  • Development and dissemination of orange-fleshed sweet potato varieties.





Target population size : 
Feed the future aims to help an estimated 263,000 vulnerable Zambian women, children and family members—mostly smallholder farmers—escape hunger and poverty. More than 173,000 children will be reached with services to improve their nutrition and prevent s
Outcome indicator(s): 


M&E system: 




USAID/Zambia will monitor and evaluate programs and activities throughout the strategy period to ensure that those investments are achieving objectives and maximizing returns to investments. Though many of the investments will be managed and monitored primarily by USAID, some investments will originate from other USG agencies and by government, donors, or the private sector. The Zambia CAADP Country Investment Plan will provide a framework for the development of a more comprehensive national effort in agriculture and poverty reduction that will be supported through the USG FTF effort. CAADP monitoring is addressed below. The M&E framework for the USG FTF strategy outlined in this section will be inclusive and involve all government agencies investing in FTF areas, particularly in the FTF priority geographic area, Eastern province.

The geographic focus, co-location of investments, and the timing of the initiation of new investments provide the opportunity to establish a solid impact assessment framework as well. USAID/Zambia’s approach to monitoring and evaluation will be comprised of three components: 1) project-level reporting; 2) performance management/monitoring and evaluation; and, 3) external impact assessment to capture the aggregate impact of all investments and the relative contribution of different interventions to the extent feasible.

The FTF strategy will be implemented primarily through two of the USAID/Zambia CDCS Development Objectives (DO) and will meet the requirements of CDCS Development Objectives:

  1. engage in ""rigorous"" impact evaluations; and
  2. build local capacity for monitoring and evaluation. The USAID/Zambia Mission has committed to implementing the operational research, managing for results, evaluation and local capacity-building model in its CDCS, and this will apply as well to FTF.

The FTF Performance Monitoring Plan will include indicators measuring progress towards achieving results at all levels. For each indicator, the data source and methodology, baseline, targets, and a calendar of performance management tasks, including a schedule for data collection, will be included. The selection of indicators to include in the PMP will be driven by ongoing and planned activities, the availability of baseline, and provisions made to ensure availability of data for the reference reporting period.

To monitor performance, the Mission will establish baselines and collect data for standard and customized indicators to track whether desired results are occurring and whether performance is on target. All programs receiving FTF resources will be expected to develop monitoring and evaluation strategies that are consistent with the USG Zambia’s FTF framework.

Initial stakeholder workshops will be held for the purposes of:

  1. reaching an agreement on indicator definitions to ensure consistency;
  2. defining and communicating project-specific collection and reporting responsibilities;
  3. generating an understanding of the higher-level objectives of the strategy; and the relative contributions by the specific projects,
  4. communicating periodicity and responsibility for reporting. Each project will report on appropriate standard and custom performance indicators, which will be aggregated across the entire investment portfolio. Data quality assessments will be conducted regularly to ensure consistency and completeness. Data collected through monitoring will be used for periodic reports to stakeholders.

Given that FTF has the intention to work with a broader range of partners, including local organizations, it is expected that some partners will have more limited reporting capacity. These organizations will need greater assistance, and it may be necessary to delegate the responsibility for some monitoring and reporting to external entities.

For higher level objectives, tracking performance will be beyond the manageable interest of individual projects. In particular, changes in incomes, nutritional status, and some community-level variables among others will be more appropriately measured across the program areas. The FTF Team is developing a consortium of stakeholders to assess existing data sources, and intends to identify an external entity to coordinate baseline and periodic data collection for specific indicators.

An FTF M&E plan will be finalized by the end of Fiscal Year 2011, outlining all indicators and the reporting responsibilities by all USAID/Zambia’s partners. Key FTF required indicators to be tracked and reported are listed in Annex B. Additional project-specific and other relevant indicators not included in the FTF required indicators will be added. It is important to note that all appropriate indicators will be sex-disaggregated.

In line with the new evaluation policy, the FTF program intends to conduct a number of performance evaluations and impact evaluations. Evaluations of two programs closing in 2011, PROFIT and C-FAARM, will be useful for the FTF learning agenda. The USG FTF has a unique opportunity with a defined geographic focus and the initiation of new activities to establish an impact assessment framework to assess high level impact, as well as to identify the relative contribution of different intervention, such as value chain upgrading versus household level management skills. USAID/Zambia will work with partners and other agencies to develop an impact assessment methodology that is consistent with and contributes to the project performance monitoring framework, but will also test several development hypotheses.
An initial baseline survey will be conducted in Eastern province to establish current levels of key variables including incomes, nutritional status, household production and asset patterns, and agriculture technology levels. This baseline will draw from the latest survey methodologies, particularly recent work on gender and asset control24. An appropriate sampling framework will be established to assess impact, most likely on a biannual basis. A randomized approach will be considered for a sub-sample to maintain the integrity of the impact assessment; however, flexibility will be needed to consider mid-term correction in order to ensure the greatest impact over the period of the strategy.

In the context of the development challenges and opportunities identified in Zambia and outlined in Section 1.1, several development hypotheses are of interest for the impact assessment. In particular, the relative contribution will be assessed of community-level versus household-level interventions to reducing poverty and undernutrition, as well as the additional value of the co-location of interventions. Another hypothesis of interest to be tested is: By increasing productivity, improving household food security and linking smallholders to markets for agriculture commodities, FTF interventions will reduce the incentives for exploiting the natural resource base.

Performance Evaluation
The FTF program will schedule performance evaluations to focus on descriptive and normative questions including: project or program achievements (either at an intermediate point in execution or at the conclusion of an implementation period); program implementation; program perception and value; and other questions pertinent to program design, management and operational decision-making. These performance evaluations will incorporate before-after comparisons whenever feasible.

Impact Evaluation
The FTF program will conduct impact evaluations to measure the change in development outcomes attributable to FTF interventions. Impact evaluations will be based on cause-effect models and will require a credible and rigorously-defined counterfactual control. Impact evaluations with treatment and control groups help provide the strongest evidence of a relationship between interventions and measured outcomes. One hypothesis to be explored includes identifying increased benefits from combined interventions, particularly income-augmenting and nutrition-related activities. In the nutrition portfolio, the differential effect of geographically co-locating health programs active in nutrition with agriculture programs working on the productivity and diversity side of the nutrition equation can be tested.

USAID/Zambia has provided extensive support to the Government of Zambia in monitoring the agricultural sector, and in analyzing government data through the Food Security Research Project (FSRP). This support will continue and can be drawn upon to monitor agricultural trends. In addition, FSRP has expertise in analyzing surveys such as the biannual Living Conditions Monitoring Survey (LCMS) which tracks poverty levels, and the Supplemental Surveys, which provide quality agricultural data. This expertise can be leveraged for improved performance monitoring by the GRZ, as well as for FTF performance.

The CAADP framework focuses largely on performance in the agricultural sector. For national performance toward other MDGs, particularly those related to nutrition and gender impacts, the FTF team will work with additional partners to identify appropriate data sources and performance monitoring modalities. For example, the Nutrition Cooperating Partners sub-group may be instrumental in the creation of a data monitoring platform according to the SUN Movement principles. However, the Zambia FTF framework will focus its efforts largely on performance for the targeted FTF areas and the contribution of these changes to national levels.




Number of people trained in child health and nutrition through USG-supported programs; Anemia among women of reproductive age (%); Number of health facilities with established capacity to manage acute undernutrition; Prevalence of anemia among children 6-59 months; Number of children under five years of age who received Vitamin A from USG-supported programs; Number of children under five reached by USG-supported nutrition programs.

Number of people trained in child health and nutrition through USG-supported programs; Anemia among women of reproductive age (%); Number of health facilities with established capacity to manage acute undernutrition; Prevalence of anemia among children 6-59 months; Number of children under five years of age who received Vitamin A from USG-supported programs; Number of children under five reached by USG-supported nutrition programs.

Outcome reported by social determinants: 
Vulnerable groups
Socio-economic status

Revision log

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 17:05engesveenkEdited by william_nkoom.published
Wed, 03/27/2013 - 16:16bloessnermEdited by william_nkoom.published
Thu, 03/21/2013 - 11:01william_nkoomEdited by william_nkoom.draft