Malnutrition and hunger are caused by many factors. Simply improving agriculture is not enough to achieve healthy nutrition, it also requires knowledge, access to markets, good hygiene, the sustainable use of available natural resources, and the inclusion of women in important decision-making processes. Welthungerhilfe uses the nutrition-based LANN+ approach (Linking Agriculture and Natural Resource Management towards Nutrition Security).
Through the Lens of Nutrition
The primary goal of LANN+ is to achieve nutritional security in remote regions of the world. In these areas, people mostly live off the land, and this dependence often threatens their survival. This can happen, for example, when extensive logging without reforestation destroys biodiversity, leaving communities more vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. This type of project concentrates on the most vulnerable families and encourages them to adapt all their behaviours and economic activities towards achieving healthy nutrition. The focus is on children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, as they suffer particularly severely from malnutrition.
LANN+ links the goal of Zero Hunger to the five key areas of agriculture, resource management, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), alternative incomes and knowledge about nutrition. Trained experts work with the local population to develop strategies tailored to the local situation. Participants identify their problems through role-playing, theatre, cookery courses, and other participatory methods. They then look for solutions to their problems that are consistent with achieving a healthy diet: all aspects of everyday life are examined through the lens of nutrition.
From Pilot Project to Welthungerhilfe Flagship
In 2009, Welthungerhilfe started a LANN+ pilot project in Laos with six other non-governmental organisations. 33 women managed a garden for the first time in their lives. They made nutritious meals from vitamin-rich vegetables, rice, wild fruits and nuts. They learnt about the fatal consequences of nutritional taboos, such as the idea of going on a meat-free diet after giving birth. Women now ensure they spend their money on healthy food. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers keep an eye on the nutritional intake of all members of the family. This enables children to get a good start in life.
Since then, Welthungerhilfe has developed the concept further and has achieved considerable success in various Asian and African countries. Since 2016 the multi-sectoral LANN+ approach has been introduced and promoted as a core element of the organisation’s project work in many project countries.
The Case of Sierra Leone – Considerable Success at a Low Cost
On the edges of Sierra Leone’s tropical forest, people have hardly any opportunities to earn an income or access social services. Women have no say in the running of traditional societies, and hunger and chronic malnutrition are widespread.
In Sierra Leone, LANN+ has proven to be a successful model for holistic and cost-effective nutrition programmes, precisely because the most vulnerable members of households and communities gained a greater say and greater control over natural resources.