Increasing dairy production and consumption of quality milk is key to eradicating child malnutrition in Rwanda, where 38% of children under the age of five are stunted.
This was stressed at an inception workshop for a new International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)-led Feed the Future Livestock Systems Innovations Lab (LSIL) project on ‘Enhancing milk quality and consumption for improved income and nutrition in Rwanda’ on 7 March 2017 in Kigali.
Designed to contribute to efforts towards enhancing milk quality and consumption for improved incomes and nutrition in the country, the three-year project builds on the work and lessons of a previous Government of Rwanda program known as ‘One cow per poor family’ or ‘Girinka’; and a recently ended United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Feed the Future Rwanda Dairy Competitiveness Program (RDCP II).
The new project will focus on:
- Evaluating the impact of a nutrition education intervention on the consumption and nutrition outcomes from animal-source foods for children aged 12–23 months, and pregnant and lactating women.
- Assessing and enhancing performance and capacity of dairy cooperatives to improve market access for smallholder milk producers.
- Evaluating the costs and benefits to value chain agents for supplying milk that meets the seal of quality standards.
Despite commendable economic growth, Rwanda is still plagued by poverty and chronic child malnutrition. Increasing consumption of animal-source foods is, however, expected to improve incomes, dietary diversity and child health.
The project will be implemented in two–four districts, covering up to two milk sheds in the country. Project sites will be selected based on the levels of child malnutrition and milk production as well as previous links with RDCP II.
This project is jointly implemented by ILRI, RTI International, University of Rwanda and TechnoServe. The Livestock Systems Innovations Lab is funded by Feed the Future and implemented by University of Florida.