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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Go-ahead for new mobile project to tackle malnutrition in Africa and Asia

Go-ahead for new mobile project to tackle malnutrition in Africa and Asia

4 July 2014 – CABI-led consortium gains 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 programmes 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, Programme 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.”

See the mNutrition project page.

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