In Sierra Leone, SPRING is receiving support from USAID’s Bureau for Food Security (BFS) and Global Health Bureau to improve nutrition and health. At the district level we aim to learn how to improve feeding practices, year-round access to nutrient-rich foods, and sanitation and hygiene to reduce the risk of infection. We are also investigating ways to encourage uptake of key water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practices and nutrition-related behaviors, such as exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life. Within the food system, SPRING is also looking into how to get vendors to sell appropriate portions of nutritious foods at an affordable price, to safely process and store animal-sourced foods, and to minimize spoilage and nutrient loss. Fish and pumpkin are the two foods serving as the subjects of study for this work, which will take place in several of Tonkolili District’s chiefdoms, overlapping where possible with communities that WorldFish has identified for USAID investment.
In addition to our district level work, SPRING is also supporting the Ministry of Health to establish and maintain a multi-sectoral National Anemia Working Group under the Scaling Up Nutrition Platform. This multi-stakeholder group composed of government, UN Agencies, Civil Society, Private Sector, and Donor Networks is working together to prioritize and integrate anemia in national policy and programs. A range of actors working across multiple sectors (e.g., health, agriculture, and WASH) are needed for an effective and sustained response to anemia.