Maximizing the Nutritional Impact of Food Security & Livelihoods Interventions

Date of Design: 
Action Against Hunger (ACF)
Pathway Component: 
Agricultural Income, Caring Capacity & Practices, Diet, Food Access, Food Expenditure, Food Production


Brief Description: This manual aims to provide practical guidance to field workers to maximize the nutritional impact of food security & livelihoods (FSL) interventions. This requires the systematic use of a ‘nutrition lens’ at each step of the project cycle and close collaboration between sectors. 

Uses: FSL interventions have major roles in combating undernutrition. This manual provides operational guidance on how to align FSL interventions with nutrition. It provides practical guidance on a variety of related topics, including: 

  • Identifying the scale and determinants of undernutrition.
  • Conducting a nutrition sensitive assessment.
  • Identifying the most nutritionally vulnerable.
  • Budgeting for nutrition-sensitive programs.
  • Enhancing the nutritional benefits of FSL interventions. 

Tool Components:

  1. Section 1 outlines the basics of undernutrition and explains the links and synergies between FSL and nutrition.
  2. Section 2 provides simple and practical guidance on how to adopt and promote nutrition-sensitive practices and interventions following the different steps of the project cycle.


Number of Staff Required: Not specified, as this will be project specific. Additional staff will be required for key factors, such as designing and implementing nutrition promotion, the behavior change strategy, adequate M&E, and community mobilization. 

Time: The manual considers the entire project cycle, so time is dependent on the length of the specific project. 

Cost of Assessment: This is not specifically an assessment tool, but some budget guidance relating to the additional costs associated with incorporating nutrition into FSL programs is provided. This may include additional staff (noted above), specific technical expertise, direct program implementation costs (e.g. micronutrient supplements, breastfeeding corners, or posters for nutrition promotion), and M&E materials (e.g. nutrition software and MUAC tapes).

Training: The manual provides the explanation needed for an FSL practitioner to apply a nutrition lens; no specific training is suggested.

Geographic Targeting: The project objectives will dictate the targeting.

Type of Data Collection: A variety of data is needed in order to apply a nutrition lens, including information related to sanitation, hygiene, caring practices, health services, knowledge, and attitudes. 

Degree of Technical Difficulty: The food security worker must be aware of what is needed to maximize the nutritional impact of the FSL intervention, but s/he need not have all the required technical expertise. 

Complements other Resources: Field practitioners should use this manual alongside relevant thematic guidance for specific types of projects, as well as other resources on project management and M&E. Ways to improve nutritional impact through advocacy is not covered in this manual.

This summary is part of a larger resource called the Context Assessment Tool Locator.