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Social Protection and Food Security indicators: An inquiry through data from 10 household budget surveys









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    Evaluating the impacts of the FAO’s Cash+ Programme in Mali 2021
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    This report presents findings from a study of the economic and food security impacts of the FAO project "Productive safety nets as a tool to reinforce the resilience in the Sahel" (hereinafter referred to as the project/programme Cash+) that took place from April 2015 to February 2017. The project aimed to strengthen the resilience of households vulnerable to shocks and heavily affected by food insecurity and was carried out in two countries: Mali and Mauritania. Unconditional in-cash and in-kind transfers were distributed to the most vulnerable households, which also benefited from other training and technical activities which aimed to strengthen their productive capacity. This report focuses on Mali, where the FAO Cash+ project targeted 36 villages in the Nioro Cercle (“Cercle de Nioro du Sahel”) of Kayes region. Two sets of intervention of equal financial value have been provided to the beneficiaries: i) one called "Cash Only" consisting primarily of a cash transfer and ii) another called "Cash+" associating a cash transfer with distribution of goats, training on good practices of livestock breeding and raising awareness of children's nutrition. The main objective of this report is evaluating the impacts of the FAO’s Cash+ programme in Mali and investigating eventual heterogenous effects of the two types of treatment. Using data collected nine months after the project ended, we analyse its lasting impacts across various livelihood aspects, namely food security, dietary diversity, hygiene practices, food and non-food expenditures, livestock production, non-farm activities, aspirations and expectations.
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    Article
    Nutrition-Sensitive Social Protection Programs within Food Systems 2021
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    Investments in social assistance programs (SAPs) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are increasing. As investments increase, the objectives of these programs are expanding from focusing on reducing poverty to addressing other social issues such as improving diets and nutrition. At the same time, there is increasing interest in addressing all forms of malnutrition within the framework of food systems. Given the intersections between SAPs and food systems, we reviewed the effectiveness of SAPs (agriculture asset transfers, cash transfers, in-kind transfers, vouchers, public works, and school meals programs) for reducing all forms of malnutrition across the lifecycle within a food systems framework. As several programs included multiple treatment arms, each representing a unique program design, we used study arm as the unit of analysis and assessed the proportion of study arms with positive or negative program impacts on diet and nutrition outcomes among men, women and children. The majority of the studies included in this review were from evaluations of agriculture asset, cash, and in-kind transfer programs. There was clear evidence of positive impacts on women’s and children’s diet-related outcomes. Very few studies assessed program impact on women’s nutritional status outcomes. However, there was some evidence of impacts on increasing body mass index and hemoglobin concentration (Hb) with in-kind transfer programs. Among children, several study arms across the agriculture asset, cash, and in-kind transfer programs found positive impacts on increasing height-for-age Z-score (33%-45% of study arms) and weight-for-height Z-score (33%-50% of study arms) and decreasing the prevalence of wasting (43%-60% of study arms). Cash and in-kind transfer programs also found positive effects on reducing stunting prevalence in 33% and 45% of study arms, respectively. Lastly, a few study arms assessed program impact on increasing Hb with some evidence of positive impacts in in-kind and school feeding programs. There was a paucity of relevant evidence of the effectiveness of voucher and public works programs on diet and nutrition outcomes, for men’s outcomes, and on micronutrient status. Several challenges remain in understanding the potential for SAPs to improve diet and nutrition outcomes within food systems including the heterogeneity of program and evaluation designs, populations targeted by the programs, and included in evaluations and indicators used to assess impact. Addressing these challenges in future evaluations is important for informing program and policy actions to improve the effectiveness of SAPs within food systems for improving diet and nutrition outcomes across the lifecycle.
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    Regional Implementation Plan for the African Soil Partnership 2016
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    Land, or soil, is the main resource base for many people in Sub-Saharan Africa, and is especially important for the rural population. With an estimated population growth for SSA from the current 900 million to 1.4 billion in 2030, the region’s soils will experience increasing pressure as a natural resource to provide for the needs of its people. With an estimated 65% of arable lands, 30% of grazing land and 20% of forests already degraded in Africa, the region has the potential to position itsel f as champion in terms of increasing food production and security, achieving land restoration, and increasing agricultural resilience to climate change. Sustainable soil management is vital to achieving these goals and, for this reason, is one of the cornerstones of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP). The African Soil Partnership caters for the Sub-Saharan Africa which includes 45 African countries. The AfSP Implementation Plan is based on regional priorities in terms of the Pillar recommendation s in their respective Plans of Action. This document is the product of a collaborative effort, mostly via email, involving participants from the two sub-regional launch events, as well as later participants in digital soil mapping training, representatives from regional institutions involved as partners and, finally, national GSP focal points as nominated by the respective country representatives. The main challenges associated with sustainable soil management in SSA were identified as:  Inade quate capacity, knowledge and experience to plan and implement SSM and optimally manage, mitigate and monitor the productive and degradation status of the soils; especially under intensive cultivation.  Where regional and national SSM policies exist, financing is often not a priority and/or implementation can be ineffective due to a lack of political will or a lack of implementation capacity. In many countries, policies regulating soil use are lacking.  Soil information/data at national level is often inadequate, outdated, not in digital format and not georeferenced. Data availability is further restricted by intellectual property often held by private institutions that are not willing to share data for national use, or data needs to be paid for prior to use.  Lack of national or umbrella organizations leading the campaign to promote and create awareness of SSM.  Weak linkages between researchers, farmers and extension services to optimize information exchange. Addressing these cha llenges and increasing SSM implementation encompasses various aspects that are crucial to its success. Under the five Pillars of the GSP, the various components of sustainable soil management can be addressed and managed to enable a holistic approach to improved soil management for long term soil protection while simultaneously providing for human livelihoods. In SSA, crop production often occurs on already underperforming and poor quality soils using poor management practices and low use of ext ernal inputs. Over time, this leads to further decreases in soil quality, degradation of soil resources and resultant declines in food production and quality. The region’s soils are especially vulnerable to degradation, especially in drier climates. During the launch workshop of the African Soil Partnership, most countries reported the occurrence of both chemical and physical soil degradation which leads to low soil productivity and yield gaps in many countries 4 which in turn leads to fo od imports. The development of SSM solutions should not only consider the implementation environment, site specific characteristics and the necessary enabling environment, but also the causes of improper soil management to date in order to develop cause-driven rather than symptom-driven solutions. This Implementation Plan sets out the road map for the next 5 years to achieve SSM over the longer term and includes a large number of outputs and activities which are considered priority in this first phase of establishing the AfSP. It is envisaged that funding for these activities will be secured by capitalizing on existing in-country initiatives and activities, as well as by actively sourcing additional external funding. Since the GSP is a voluntary initiative, it calls for the strong support of national governments, as well as national and regional entities involved in natural resource management to contribute to achieving the common goal of improved and sustainable soil management. Under Pillar 1 (Promote sustainable management of soil resources and improved global governance for soil protection and sustainable productivity) the implementation plan proposes that soil degradation and restoration hotspots, as well as soil potential for agriculture be mapped for major agro-ecological zones. This will enable the identification of priority areas for SSM implementation to be initiated under this plan. A SSM implementation monitoring system is further proposed to measure success of SS M initiatives and monitor the status of the soil resources. Under Pillar 2 (Encourage investment, technical cooperation, policy, education, awareness and extension in soil) it is proposed that SSM partner platforms be established to foster awareness and investment towards SSM implementation. To build soil science capacity, a regional tertiary soil science training exchange programme is proposed to increase the number of soil scientists trained at tertiary level. In addition, it is proposed that soil science education be included at secondary school level to educate learners from a young age about the importance of soil. The importance of soil extension services is highlighted, as well as the need for region-specific policy recommendations to support SSM development and implementation. Pillar 3 (Promote targeted soil research and development focusing on identified gaps, priorities, and synergies with related productive, environmental, and social development actions) focuses on soil rese arch for development. Under this Pillar it is proposed that an African Soil Research for Development Platform be established to bring soil research for development partners. Its main aim is to align efforts and resources towards improving the management of soil fertility and soil health, increasing productivity while protecting the soil resources and restoring productivity on degraded soils. This would include identifying soil-related research gaps and establishing regional research working grou ps to collaboratively address on these gaps. Under Pillar 4 (Enhance the quantity and quality of soil data and information: data collection [generation], analysis, validation, reporting, monitoring and integration with other disciplines) addresses the need for soil data and information to support decision making and monitoring. The implementation plan proposes that an inventory be developed of all soil and related data in the region and an African soil database be developed and maintained. Train ing in digital soil mapping is proposed to increase soil mapping capacity in an effort to produce new and updated maps for the region. Under Pillar 5 (Harmonisation of methods, measurements and indicators for the sustainable management and protection of soil resources) the implementation plan calls for the development of 5 a harmonization procedure for soil classification and soil description. In addition, it proposes that regional reference laboratories be identified and supported to en able soil analysis towards increasing national and regional soil data. Outcomes and activities are presented in separate log frames per Pillar, along with the associated budgets and time frames. Since the GSP is a voluntary initiative, it calls for the strong support of national governments, as well as national and regional entities involved in natural resource management to contribute to achieving the common goal of improved and sustainable soil management. The list of outputs may be considered optimistic, considering the 5-year timeline, but it is the view of the AfSP that these outputs are essential to moving forward towards achieving SSM in the region over the longer term. The aim of this implementation plan is therefore to solicit buy-in, support and active participation from additional partners to increase collaboration in soil management activities

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