• Organic Agriculture
    Organic Agriculture


Nutrition in Mountain Agro-ecosystem (NMA)


When ISD started NMA project in Ethiopia, it has opened an opportunity of looking in to incorporating the consumption approaches to the principles of agro ecology production. As ISD has been working with households of rural farming communities, major emphasis was increasing healthy production and diversifying income streams of the families. Micro intervention projects have created additional benefits leading each household’s particularly rural women to start thinking and intervening with family feeding behaviors. The 500 HH which initial the project has addressed have benefited from the different clusters of Micro-Interventions (MIs). Mothers have become conscious of the impact of unbalanced feeding on their health and the health of their children. The findings in the end line survey with the participating 400 HH has clearly shown positive change of behavior in terms of production of diversified foods and consumption patterns of the 5 basic food groups. Of the 4 categories of MIs the food processing and marketing intervention results are not as expected due to slow uptake and practicing of the involved beneficiaries.

In 2018 one national workshop conducted at Addis Ababa has brought together stakeholders. The end line survey result and the finding of the policy gap analysis upon the implementation of NSA in Ethiopia are presented. The discussion has made clear that NMA can practically improve HH feeding habit and a core approach in to the sustainability of healthy production and consumption with a reasonable local inputs and available technology. The policy gap analysis has awakened participants and actors to fully focus on NSA approach to enrich the food and nutrition policy developed by the federal democratic republic of Ethiopia. The NMA project within almost 3 years life time has brought promising approach and simple practices which can mobilize rural communities to relay on local intervention schemes to sustainably address malnutrition challenges. The built in social capital of the RSP is the foundation for social network if supported by stakeholders and local governments.

Though the project has brought substantial evidence to improve feeding behavior the extent of malnutrition as evidenced from baseline survey is so deep that it demands for more resources and collaboration of international and local actors to benefit more hard to reach communities.

Expected Outcome A: Farmers, by applying agro-ecological practices, processors and traders diversify and intensify production, improve post-harvest management and promote a nutritious product range including for self-subsistence and for absorbing the diversified surplus production to respond to demand of sensitized consumers.

Achievements related to Outcome A:

  • The impact of the project was well analyzed by independent party called Wollo University as a result of local level partnership. The following graph shows the women dietary score change and food production in the project period.
  • Ensure the sustainability of the capacities built among Rural Service Providers (RSPs) and the Mountain Agriculture Action Network (MAAN),
  • Expand to additional countries within the selected mountain regions and facilitate cross-country learning,
  • Ensure that NSA interventions can be replicated and scaled, strengthen the food consumption aspect through awareness rising and feed its results into national and global level policy work.

In NMA Phase II, particular attention was given to:

Main Achievements

According to the project document of NMA II and as per the action plan, the project launching program with all the stakeholders including the identified resource persons and multipliers (e.g. municipalities, schools, celebrities) for outreach at local / regional level (radio programs, journalist networks etc.) and the selected SUNSAI (based on competitive call) has been carried out in September 2018.

Launching Program of NMA phase II

Launching programme of NMA Phase II was carried out at Holeta (Central Ethiopia) and Dessie (North Ethiopia) on 06/09/18 and 09/09/18 respectively. In the project launching program, participants [stakeholders/project implementers] at Dessie were 47(4F) and at Holeta were 24 (4 F). The participants includes from different sectors/offices: Agriculture, Health, TVET, Women and Children affair, Youth and sport affair, Communication, NGOs and Associations, and Government Administration.

SUNSAI Selection Based on Competitive Call

To achieve a more systemic change by promoting nutrition sensitive agriculture interventions in phase II, the project will work through SUNSAI. SUNSAI are projects implemented by RSP institutions (these can be businesses, extension service providers, NGOs, etc.). RSP’s are to scale up proven nutrition sensitive agriculture interventions in collaboration with local institutions.

SUNSAI aims at achieving systemic and lasting change at a larger geographic scale than Micro Interventions, e.g. at the level of municipalities, village clusters or valleys. Accordingly, they increase production and consumption of nutritious foods of a larger number of people.

SUNSAI are thus expected to have a more integrated approach towards nutrition, e.g. using a multi-sector approach between agriculture, health and education, by linking production and consumption, e.g. linking farmers to rural and urban markets, and by including an awareness raising component that leads to behavioral change at consumer level. They are expected to be well embedded institutionally, i.e. they are closely linked to and receive support from local key institutions such as municipalities, farmer organizations, educational institutions, health care providers, professional associations, etc. SUNSAI offer success stories and learning’s that can be used in national and global advocacy work.

SUNSAI are selected based on a competitive fund system. Competitive calls are an effective, transparent and institutionally independent modality of supporting local initiatives that contribute to NMA’s objectives. NMA announces its objectives, available support, technical priority areas of support as well as target area and beneficiaries widely through the appropriate local and national level media. Interested institutions can submit proposals in response in written electronic from, using an application format. The proposals are evaluated by a technical committee, based on transparently announced criteria and a rating system.

Accordingly, ISD gave orientation and detail explanation on the SUNSAI GUIDE LINE and details of the application. After orientation, ISD announced competitive call through ISD website and FM radio. Based on the call, ISD received 38 SUNSAI proposals from RSP institutions, including from Wollo University, Woldia University, Dessie Health Center, districts’ Education and Agriculture offices and TVET College. The received proposals were evaluated by a technical committee consisting of 2 ISD staff and 2 professional outsiders based on transparently announced criteria and a rating system provided to us by IFOAM.