Child Nutrition III

Lead Organization:

Research Institute of Applied Sciences and Technologies (IRSAT)

Partner Organizations:

Farmers’ organizations FUMA Gaskiya, Mooriben (Niger), AMSP (Burkina Faso), and UPLC (Mali); rural women’s associations; projects Networking4Seed, Voandzou, Fonio, Cowpea Square, Farmers’ Knowledge, Women’s Farm Productivity in Niger, Sahel-IPM, Processing, IAE, Recycling, CATHI-Gao; institutions ICRISAT, IER, INRAN, INERA, University of Maradi, University of Ouagadougou, Nazi Boni University, University of Bamako, Abdou Moumouni University (Niger), and IER (Mali)

Community of Practice:

West Africa


Burkina Faso Niger Mali




Given the scale of the nutritional situation in sub-Saharan Africa, strategies to combat malnutrition need to be reformed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2) of the 2030 Agenda. In Burkina Faso, the National Agroecology Development Strategy (SND–AE) 2023–2027 and its three-year action plan 2023–2025 are currently being implemented. In Mali and Niger, a number of farmers’ platforms are engaged in agroecological transition.

The Child Nutrition project started in 2016 with the aim of improving the nutritional status of children ages six months to 12 years. The project’s first phase focused on processing by introducing “cereals+legumes” products in rural communes. The second phase tackled preservation of the nutritional quality of crops and acceptability with sociocultural practices in the process. More than 10 formulations covering all protein requirements and at least 70 percent of iron and zinc requirements were introduced into rural communes. Sorghum varieties such as Jacumbè, Darrelken, Pitikala, and Jiguikala with protein contents of more than 15 g/100g and high swelling rates are suitable for infant flours. Although yield is the main criteria influencing farmers’ choice of cowpea varieties, size, taste, and color weigh in at 30 to 40 percent. The introduction of germinated mung bean in infant food improved the bioavailability of iron and zinc. Rural women and farmers benefited from good nutritional practices for children’s health. Rural women’s daily income increased threefold compared to the first phase. In Niger, the project characterized 30 cowpea varieties. 

An inclusive and equitable approach is needed for the population to adopt favorable behaviors for a continuous and sustainable process that addresses current and future nutritional challenges.

Grant Aims:

The overall goal is to adopt a more integrated, unifying “One Health” approach—which, per the FAO, sustainably balances and optimizes the health of people, animals, and ecosystems—to achieve stronger, more sustainable results in the effort to alleviate malnutrition. This project will focus on people, crops, and soils as entry points. 

Specifically, the project aims to:

  • Put in place a system of co-creation and knowledge-sharing in rural areas.
  • Preserve natural resources and soil health while respecting human and food values so as to achieve efficient and effective use of local potential.
  • Initiate changes in the countries’ regulatory texts and laws.
  • Promote agrobiodiversity to make nutrition more resilient and inclusive.

Outputs and Outcomes:


  • Agroecological soil treatment practices that preserve or improve nutritional quality of crops well-accepted, identified, and promoted in target villages of CRFS soil health projects
  • Agroecological pest control practices and biopesticides that preserve nutritional and health quality of crops well-accepted, identified, and promoted in target villages of CRFS soil health projects
  • Storage agroecological practices and bioconservatives that preserve nutritional and health quality of crops well-accepted, identified, and promoted in target villages 
  • Harvest and post-harvest agroecological practices that preserve nutritional and health quality of crops identified and promoted
  • Collaboration between all stakeholders of soil health for children health established
  • Insects, plants, and animals with positive impact on soil health and cereal or legumes nutrient and sanitary quality identified
  • Edible wild species and non-timber products with high nutritional potential and good acceptability at household level and in processing centers for formulations of infant products identified and promoted; introduced into formulations of processing centers in rural areas 
  • Forest trees with products of good nutritional value identified and promoted to local population’s diet 
  • Fonio-based product formulations that meet nutritional needs of children well-accepted and introduced to market through rural incubation centers 
  • New crop species and new varieties with nutritional value developed and adapted to dietary habits of rural populations 
  • Collaboration between all stakeholders of agrobiodiversity established
  • Incubation center products have quality certificate attesting acknowledgement at national level 
  • Nutritional labels well-understood by rural populations developed for infant products of processing centers in villages 
  • Good packaging that preserves nutritional and sanitary quality of center products well-accepted and introduced in target villages
  • Infant products available at target villages and surroundings rural community fairs organized to promote products from centers in Burkina Faso
  • Women trained on good hygienic and processing practices 
  • Capacity of training centers for women from other villages strengthened
  • Rural population’s perceptions of resilience in food system known
  • Collaboration between CRFS project strengthened to fight malnutrition


  • Contributions to involvement and commitment of number of stakeholders to improve child nutrition, including those involved in resilient, healthy, and sustainable agriculture, agrobiodiversity that promotes to nutrition, and processing methods that enhance to good nutrient bioavailability
  • Framework for sharing knowledge and development of strong collaborations between stakeholders committed to healthy and nutritious food for children in rural areas