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Improving Dietary and Health Data for Decision-Making in Agriculture and Nutrition Actions in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest level of food and nutrition insecurity in the world. Despite many interventions, access to accurate and reliable information about the nutrition and health of individuals is severely lacking. This problem is intensified due to time-consuming and expensive primary data collection methods, which are especially challenging in remote locations. With strong national and international investments to reduce all forms of malnutrition, it is essential to find reliable field-friendly ways to collect information that can be readily available for making decisions on nutrition interventions.

This project, implemented in collaboration with the South Africa-based Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, will address the data gap by developing an information and communications technology-based platform for collecting real-time nutrition data. It builds on the growing recognition that digital platforms can support transformational advances in agriculture, nutrition, and other sustainable development objectives by combining the accuracy and frequency of recording events in near-real time at a low cost.

Researchers will develop a front-end mobile application designed to be user-friendly and operable, even by largely illiterate individuals, along with a back-end web system that serves as a database and dashboard for data analysis. Innovative methods will be tested whereby households can provide their own data directly using icons, photos, interactive voice response, and games. Gender dynamics will be considered throughout the project, and the capacity of women to access and use the data collection tools will be enhanced.

The mobile application will initially be tested in Kenyan communities and expanded to two other African countries. Results will be closely monitored and validated by comparing collected data with traditional methods and through engagement with other stakeholders in the nutrition sector. It will also be made accessible to interested stakeholders involved in national and international programming.

Project ID
Project Status
48 months
IDRC Officer
Edidah Lubega Ampaire
Total Funding
CA$ 1,556,300.00
Climate-Resilient Food Systems
Climate-Resilient Food Systems
Agriculture and Food Security
Institution Country
South Africa
Project Leader
Simbarashe Sibanda
Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network


Improving dietary and health data for decision-making in agriculture and nutrition actions in Africa

Improving dietary and health data for decision-making in agriculture and nutrition actions in Africa


The policy brief describes the project which works to develop and build capacity around an ICT based platform that will collect health data directly from households, as well as presenting households with relevant dietary and nutritional information. The aim of the initial pilot stage is to develop cost-effective and scalable technology that will improve collection of health information. The second aim is to strengthen country, regional and household capacity to use the tools and the data, towards creating better health, nutrition and agricultural policy and policy decisions.

Author(s): Sibanda, Simba, Jensen, Nathan

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Language: English