Project Factsheet
Tools for » Improving nutrition and food safety for China's most vulnerable women and children
Project ID:00067235Description:MDGF-1991-I-CHN
Fund:
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 31 Mar 2009
Theme:
MDGF SP-ChildFoodSec&Nutri
End Date*: 30 Apr 2013
Country: China Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple
About

Overview

The Joint Programme aimed to improve food security, nutrition and food safety for women and children in six of the poorest counties in the western provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Shaanxi. It sought to do this by addressing information gaps; implementing targeted interventions to improve breastfeeding and complementary feeding, safe and nutrition-sensitive food production, as well as balanced diet intake; and finally, by supporting policy development in relation to food security, nutrition and food safety. As such, the joint programme had four outcomes:

Under Outcome 1, Policy decisions and targeting are informed by reliable and up-to-date evidence on the magnitude, distribution, types and causes of undernutrition in China, the JP was able to produce information on key food security issues in terms of geography, demography, economy, exposure to natural disasters and external shocks, agricultural productivity, accessibility, and seasonal factors which allowed for policies and programmes to address the root causes. One such targeted response was the use of micronutrients supplements for children aged 6-23 months to reduce undernutrition, which stimulated government investment to sustain the intervention. In addition, these global indicators on maternal and child nutrition were integrated into the national nutrition surveillance system and the first government report on child nutrition in China was produced.

Under Outcome 2, Undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies reduced among poor women and children in selected demonstration counties, the JP was able to decrease the prevalence for anaemia, stunting, low weight, wasting, as well as vitamin A and B12 deficiency and the incidence of diarrhoea. There was also an increase in local production, consumption and knowledge on nutrition and micronutrient-rich foods at the household level. In addition the JP contributed to the revision of the State Council’s Special Provisions for the Protection of Female Employees, which includes the extension of maternity leave from 90 to 98 days in line with international standards, and encourages organizations to support breastfeeding.

Under Outcome 3, Food-related illnesses reduced through safer food production and preparation for children, the JP’s activities were able to strengthen food safety control systems at the local level, focusing on the key food control building blocks such as food law and regulations; food control management; inspection services; laboratory services; information, education, communication and training. It led to improvements in the manufacturing practices of food-processing enterprises with four pilot enterprises manufacturing food for children certified as having established an Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system through training. As a result, more than 50 pieces of policy advice were proposed and adopted by government and quality supervision departments in the pilot areas (more details are in the final narrative report below). The project also piloted the provision of education in nutrition and food safety to middle and primary school students. As a result, a series of policy recommendations were made. The JP conducted trainings for thousands of women and children, hundreds of food safety inspectors and food producers, 720 judges and legal workers, 100 media professionals on food safety knowledge and food safety law as well as relevant regulations. The JP identified areas for improving food safety emergency response systems and food complaints system at the local level.  

Under Outcome 4, National child nutrition and food safety policies, guidelines, regulations and standards are revised according to results of the pilots, and lessons are scaled up nationwide, the JP contributed to the 8th Amendment to the Criminal Law that criminalizes acts endangering food safety as well as the revision of the State Council’s Special Provisions for the Protection of Female Employees, which extended maternity leave as indicated above. In addition, the Yingyangbao (micro-nutrient) intervention triggered a government investment of CNY 100 million to scale it up in 100 counties.

 

Outcome 1:

Policy decisions and targeting are informed by reliable and up-to-date evidence on the magnitude, distribution, types and causes of undernutrition in China.

 

Outcome Achievements:

A baseline and end-line surveys were conducted on household level food security in six pilot counties. The report identified number of people, regions and factors leading to food insecurity, as well as recommendations for policy intervention.

The report ‘Nutritional Status of Women and Children and Effectiveness of Nutrition Intervention in Improving Nutrition among Children’ was the first report issued by the Government on child nutrition, and included data on children’s growth, anaemia, and deficiencies (iron, vitamin A, vitamin D etc.) in the pilot counties.

As a result of the JP activities, child nutrition and feeding indicators were integrated into the national nutrition surveillance system.

 

Outcome 2:

Undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies reduced among poor women and children in selected demonstration counties.

 

Outcome Achievements:

  • Due to the JP’s intervention, the prevalence of the following decreased: anaemia in children by 33.8%; stunting by 35.9%; low weight by 58.2%; wasting by 35.5%; vitamin A deficiency by 46.0%; vitamin B12 deficiency by 36.9% and the incidence of diarrhoea by 27.9%.
  • To improve nutritional status, a food-based approach for dietary diversification was piloted at the household level, focused on women and children. The strategies included support for home vegetable gardens, raising of poultry and livestock, as well as education to improve knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) on nutrition at the household level.
  • The JP also supported an increased in local production and consumption of micronutrient-rich foods at the household level, while improving nutritional knowledge, attitudes and practices. As a result, the household dietary intake increased from 21.3% to 30.1% and Women Dietary Diversity increased from 3.5 to 5.3. There was a positive impact on household incomes as well.
  • 13,055 children aged 6-23 months received and consumed micronutrient supplement Yingyangbao. The success of this intervention stimulated government investment to scale up the project model.
  • Studies were piloted to improve breastfeeding and complementary feeding. For example, recipes using local food were developed for complementary feeding; baby-friendly hospitals were re-evaluated; a series of advocacy and training materials were developed.
  • Training package on maternity protection in the workplaces were developed and shared with partners. In addition the JP contributed to the revision of the State Council’s Special Provisions for the Protection of Female Employees, which includes the extension of maternity leave from 90 to 98 days in line with international standards, and encourages organizations to support breastfeeding.

 

Outcome 3:

Food-related illnesses reduced through safer food production and preparation for children.

 

Outcome Achievements:

  • Food enterprises manufacture practices were improved. Five pilot enterprises manufacturing food for children were trained in the HACCP system, and four were certified as having established an HACCP system.
  • The capacity of pilot laboratories to perform food safety testing was enhanced with 4 trained in ISO standardization and management, and three certified against ISO17025.
  • The capacity of food safety/quality inspectors to carry monitoring was enhanced. 30 inspectors were trained on carrying out inspections of HACCP systems.
  • In relation to the above, more than 50 pieces of policy advice were proposed and adopted by government and quality supervision departments in the pilot areas.
  • More than 100 occupational safety and health inspectors and more than 400 food enterprise staff in the pilot enterprises were trained in work safety.
  • Four pilot food enterprises were identified and their potential workplace hazards and risks corrected, with regulations on work safety developed.
  • The project piloted the provision of education in nutrition and food safety to middle and primary school students. Supplementary materials for teachers and pupils were prepared. As a result a series of policy recommendations were made.
  • Extensive IEC (Information, Education and Communication) activities were conducted on the food safety law and food safety knowledge, skills and practices for food safety inspectors, food producers, lawyers, judges, media, women and children.
  • Areas were identified for improving food safety emergency response systems and food complaints systems at the local level.
  • 100 media professionals were trained in child food safety and nutrition.

 

Outcome 4:

National child nutrition and food safety policies, guidelines, regulations and standards are revised according to results of the pilots, and lessons are scaled up nationwide.

 

Outcome Achievements:

  • The JP contributed to the revision of: 1) the 8th Amendment to the Criminal Law to criminalize acts endangering food safety; 2) the State Council’s Special Provisions for the Protection of Female Employees, which includes the extension of maternity leave from 90 to 98 days to improve breastfeeding.
  • The Yingyangbao intervention triggered a government investment of CNY 100 million to scale it up in 100 counties since Oct 2012.
  • The JP produced a focused policy brief for the government entitled Adequate, Nutritious and Safe Food for the Most Vulnerable Women and Children in China which was presented and distributed to the Government.

 

Best practices:

  • Full alignment with national and local development strategies ensured government ownership and sustainability. Certain results were already integrated into national policies or were widely applied during the implementation. For example, the JP contributed to the eighth amendment to the Criminal Law for criminalizing acts that endanger food safety (implemented from 1 May 2011). The policy recommendations on maternity protection in connection with maternity protection including breastfeeding were incorporated into the Special Provisions on Labour Protection for Female Employees promulgated by the State Council (implemented from 28 April 2012). The successful Yingyangbao intervention stimulated the government to invest in the scale-up of the intervention in 100 poor counties.
  • The JP piloted an integrated approach for agricultural production combined with nutrition education which proved effective and sustainable to improve women, children and the general population’s nutrition.
  • Capacity building activities in combination with immediate practical application was found to be an effective way to produce results. For example, four food enterprises applied and achieved certification to HACCP system after they were trained on HACCP system, which immediately led to increased buyers’ confidence through increased orders and reductions in complaints.
  • Capacity building for occupational safety and health inspectors as well as the pilot food enterprise staff was found to be an effective mechanism for improving awareness on occupational safety. This strengthened production safety as well as the safe production capacity of the pilot enterprises.
  • The JP led to a number of innovative mechanisms: for instance, the newly established China Food Safety Law Research Center, training of legal workers for court trials of criminal cases involving food safety, exploring ways to appropriately combine agricultural development and nutrition education, and collaboration among women’s associations, health inspection institutes and broadcasting stations in pilot counties to promote food safety laws.
  • This intervention triggered a government investment of CNY 100 million (US$ 16 million) to expand to 100 other counties. 

 

Lessons learned:

  • Allow more time to design and implement the programme: The 3-year schedule was too short for a programme that included participation of eight UN agencies and over 20 national and local institutions. A significant amount of time was required to set up the programme’s coordination mechanism, with the JP being launched half year after the official approval. In addition, Agricultural production is seasonal and is easily affected by unusual weather patterns such as drought, which requires more time to implement agriculture-related projects. The agriculture sub-project experienced this situation. A time timeframe of at least five years would have been more realistic.
  • Fewer agencies facilitate joint implementation: Having eight UN agencies and over 20 national institutions working together addressing the issues of food security, nutrition and food safety at the same time through each agency’s distinct expertise and comparative advantage, was very effective in improving women’s and children’s health. However, further efforts can be made for more harmonization in future joint programmes. For example, some activities with the same target beneficiaries or of a similar nature were implemented by individual agencies. While some local governments like Wuding County took the leadership role to coordinate some food safety IEC activities and achieve good synergies, it was not the case in all the pilot counties. Future JPs with fewer participating agencies could better identifying common priority areas, subjects and target population, increase coordination, joint planning and implementation. This would help reduce coordination transaction costs, make harmonization easier and achieve greater synergy to improve aid effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Strengthen the role of PMO (programme management office): Because the large number of agencies, the PMO played an important role in coordination and communication to facilitate programme implementation. In any future joint programmes, their PMOs should be empowered with more authority, responsibilities and resources to strengthen coordination and integration.
  • Clarity of roles and management structure: A clear coordination and management structure with clearly defined roles and responsibilities was found to be important to the success of such multi-sector and multi-agency joint programme.
  • Importance of the M&E framework: Putting a monitoring framework in place and implementing the framework was found to be key to facilitate implementation, accountability and to measure the progress.

 

More details can be found in the documents below.

Recent Documents
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Contacts

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