Food and nutrition security in Rakhine State

Project description

Project title: Food and nutrition security in Rakhine State
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Myanmar
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Health and Sports
Overall term: 2016 to 2019

Context

Myanmar is one of the largest countries in South-East Asia, and also one of the poorest. Most of the people there practise subsistence farming and face fluctuations in their food supply due to seasonal and structural conditions. One in six households is affected by nutrition and food insecurity in terms of both the quantity and quality of the food. According to the World Bank, the child mortality rate of 50 per 1,000 live births is more than three times that of neighbouring Thailand. Diarrhoeal disease is the second most common cause of death in children under five, often as a result of inadequate water supplies and the lack of sanitary facilities in the country's rural regions. Rakhine State in the Western part of the country, bordering Bangladesh, is among the least developed regions with high rates of poverty. About half of the children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition, which can lead to irreversible physical and mental impairment.

Objective
The food and nutrition situation of people in selected communities in Rakhine State, especially of women between 15 and 49 and children between 6 and 23 months, has improved.

Approach

Malnutrition has a variety of causes and to combat it, different sectors must be involved. The project works in the key areas of nutrition, nutrition-relevant basic health services and agriculture, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

The principal activities are:

  • Improving advisory services on nutrition and nutrition-relevant basic health services
  • Diversification of fruit and vegetable cultivation
  • Improving access to water and latrines as well as to know-how about hygiene practices and handling drinking water

The project supports the national government’s priority policy of improving the food and nutrition situation of Myanmar’s population. It therefore contributes directly to the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. It furthermore contributes to SDG 3 (Health care, particularly mother-and-child) and 6 (clean water and sanitation).

The project mainly targets women of child-bearing age (15-49), as well as mothers and their infants, and is supporting all ethnic groups in the selected areas.
Alongside the regional office of the Ministry of Health, the project's partners are the agriculture department and its district and community structures. The project implements its activities in cooperation with international and local non-governmental organisations.

Local organisations are important cooperation partners as well. Their support enables the project to reach people in the communities and to sustainably mainstream the practices that they have learned in the areas of nutrition, vegetable cultivation and hygiene. In addition, the project strengthens the partners' management skills and expertise by delivering training courses and seminars and offering organisational development.

The project combines short-term assistance with medium to long-term measures, such as training to change people’s habits and the construction of health care and sanitation facilities. The goal is to achieve long-term, sustainable development in line with the German Government’s strategy on transitional development assistance.