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New mobile project to tackle malnutrition in Africa and Asia


Lucy Wangeci Kuria_bw_

Lucy Wangeci Kuria of Kenya with her cow and her phone (via Flickr/Jeff Haskins).

A CABI-led consortium has gained GSMA funding to help three million people access nutrition information using mobile technology.

More than three million people in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia will soon be able to access vital nutrition and health information using mobile technology as part of a new project to help tackle malnutrition – a leading cause of child death worldwide. The GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation has appointed a CABI-led consortium as the global content provider to the mNutrition initiative – a UK Department For International Development (DFID)-funded project that aims to improve the nutritional status of more than three million people. The initiative will tackle malnutrition and help beneficiaries to access nutrition-based agricultural and health information using mobile technology.

The consortium comprises CABI, BMJ, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Oxfam GB. The consortium was established earlier this year to harness the power of mobile phones and help millions of poor women and their families to access, and act on, sound nutritional information and advice. The group brings together world-class expertise in agriculture, health and nutrition, as well as a strong presence in the 14 target countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where the project will be rolled out later in 2014.

Malnutrition is the largest single contributor to child mortality worldwide and a hugely important issue that needs tackling urgently. According to UNICEF, it is estimated that undernutrition contributes to the deaths of about 5.6 million children under the age of five each year, and that good nutrition has strong economic implications too. When populations are well nourished, higher individual productivity, lower health care costs and greater economic output will ensue.

The CABI-led consortium will work in each country together with partners such as content providers, extension service providers, governments, mobile operators, NGOs and private sector companies, to help deliver nutrition related information via mobile phones. The consortium will also link mNutrition services to existing programs and on-the-ground services, for example, agricultural extension and community health services, bringing together the mobile services with face-to-face advice.

‘In Africa and Asia, the proliferation in mobile technology means we can now reach people in even the most remote locations with essential agricultural and health advice,’ says Fraser Norton, program manager at CABI. ‘Mobile services are becoming a vital link in the advisory chain, bridging an information gap that conventional public extension can’t span. Mobile technology is the future of delivering knowledge to those who need it most. We’re delighted that our consortium has been chosen to be the content provider in such an important mobile initiative.’

About the consortium

CABI is a not-for-profit international organization that improves people’s lives worldwide by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. www.cabi.org

BMJ is a healthcare knowledge provider that aims to advance healthcare worldwide by sharing knowledge and expertise to improve experiences, outcomes and value. For a full list of BMJ products and services, please click here. BMJ Media Centre.www.bmj.com

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is an international organization launched at the UN (Special Session on Children in 2002) to tackle the human suffering caused by malnutrition. We act as a catalyst – bringing together governments, business and civil society – to find and deliver solutions to the complex problem of malnutrition. www.gainhealth.org

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works to improve food security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for better and more sustainable use of livestock. ILRI is a member of the CGIAR Consortium, a global research partnership of 15 centres working with many partners for a food-secure future. www.ilri.org

Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations networked together in more than 90 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty. www.oxfam.org.uk

One thought on “New mobile project to tackle malnutrition in Africa and Asia

  1. This is a great project if it kicks off well, for a knowledge of true science is power as opposed to superstitious beliefs. Also Knowledge is power for good or for evil; unless the project is executed well, it might not achieve much.

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