Food and nutrition security

The Netherlands, 31 March – 13 June 2008
Worldwide, enough food is being produced to feed the global population. However, already for more than a decade, the absolute number of people who go to bed hungry has remained stable at over 800 million. The world community has pledged to halve hunger by 2015, as stated in the Millennium Development Goal 1. The Task Force for Hunger, in her 2005 report, states that this goal is still achievable. A number of concrete strategies are outlined among which capacity building in developing countries.
The training programme focuses on knowledge and insights, programmes and policies on reducing hunger and alleviating malnutrition, from a multi-sectoral perspective. Food and nutrition security result from a complex web of cause and effect that transcends disciplines and sectors. Conventional sectoral approaches deal with only parts of the 'puzzle', such as food availability (agriculture), nutrition education (health), assessment of nutritional status (health), poverty alleviation (economic development).

Successful food and nutrition security programmes require a combined effort of different sectors, an appropriate mix of both governmental and non-governmental involvement, and activities at various levels (national and sub-national policy level, implementation aimed at the community, household and individual levels), in which the interests of different stakeholders are duly taken into account.

The training programme aims to train professionals who can catalyse and direct participatory processes leading to the development and implementation of integrated and intersectoral food and nutrition programmes.

The training programme is organised in collaboration with the Division of Human Nutrition of Wageningen University. Lecturers/facilitators of Dutch, European, and international institutes are contributing to the training programme.

Aims and objectives
The training programme aims to provide the course participants with knowledge, skills and motivation to identify, plan and implement effective action on food and nutrition security at various levels, ranging from (national) policy level to regional, community, household and even individual level programmes.

The training programme can be followed as a complete 11 weeks’ programme, which leads to a diploma at postgraduate level. The programme is a combination of various courses, which can also be followed as ‘stand alone’ certificate courses. The content of the courses is described further on. The following courses are included in the training programme: Key concepts and current issues’, Nutrition communication and promotion; a new approach to nutrition education; Food and nutrition security in the context of HIV/AIDS; and Monitoring and evaluation of impact on food and nutrition security.

Training methods
All courses are job-oriented and the training approach is interactive and experience-based: it provides the participants with the possibility to learn from expert facilitators as well as from each other. Transfer of knowledge goes hand in hand with case studies working groups, etc. A mix of participants with different backgrounds, yet common interests, will provide a good basis for the exchange of experiences.
Fellowships and Form
A limited number of fellowships are available from the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) for nationals of certain countries. NFP-candidates must FIRST apply to Wageningen International for admission to the training. The deadline for application with NFP is 1 November 2007. Acceptable candidates will receive a PROVISIONAL LETTER OF ACCEPTANCE from Wageningen International. Candidates can then apply for a NFP fellowship through the Netherlands Embassy or Consulate in their own country. Application Form here
NFP fellowship is available only for the full programme.

The deadline for application directly to Wageningen International with funding other than a NFP fellowship is 29 February 2008.
Who can participate?
The training programme is aimed at staff of governmental and non-governmental organisations in the following positions:
  • Policy and planning staff at the national and sub-national level with responsibility for promoting community and household food and nutrition security within different sectors (agriculture, education, health, community development, local government, planning, etc.)
  • Staff working at management and co-ordination level in the planning, management, implementation and monitoring of community food security and nutrition programmes or rural development programmes with nutrition components
  • Staff working in action-oriented research, advisory and teaching positions directly relevant to food and nutrition security.

Programme
Distance learning programme: Key concepts in food and nutrition

Available throughout the year
This course is a computer-based self-study tutorial. For participants of the training programme on food and nutrition security who do not have a background in food security and nutrition, the tutorial can serve as a way to get acquainted with the key issues. For those who do have a background in food security and/or nutrition, the tutorial can serve as a refresher.

The course can be followed through the internet or from a CD Rom. The necessary backstopping will be given by course staff. For participants of the complete training programme on food security and nutrition, the tutorial is integrated in the three weeks course “Key concepts and current issues in food and nutrition”.

Subjects covered in the course are: world food situation, statistics and epidemiology, nutritional assessment, nutrition physiology, concepts such as household food security, nutrition security and livelihood security, food hygiene and public nutrition issues.

Key concepts and current issues in food and nutrition 31 March – 18 April

This course aims to bring participants up to date with key concepts and current issues in the debate on food and nutrition security. The course is a combination of lectures and the above described computer-based tutorial on key concepts in food and nutrition. At the end of the course the participants are expected to be conversant with the conceptual frameworks in food security, livelihood security and nutrition, and up to date in recent discussions and insights into important themes in food and nutrition. Issues covered include: the concept of “public health nutrition”, state of the art in micro-nutrient malnutrition, recent insights in anthropometry and growth standards, nutrition in the lifecycle, identifying the various vulnerable groups and explaining inter-generational effects of malnutrition, and nutrition in emergencies, and the Right to Food Approach. In addition, attention will be given to supporting topics like statistics and epidemiology.

Nutrition communication and promotion; a new approach to nutrition education 21 April – 3 May
Nutrition education, a commonly used intervention in nutrition improvement programmes and projects, often does not have the anticipated result. Although various approaches have been developed and implemented (e.g. Knowledge, Attitude, Practice/Behaviour), the behavioural change in food consumption and habits is often limited. In health education, insights in adult learning and in inducing behavioural change as provided by disciplines such as adult learning, social psychology, behavioural sciences, have lead to other approaches known as health communication and health promotion. A parallel can be seen for nutrition communication and nutrition promotion.

These new approaches put much emphasis on influencing the “environment” in which the change of behaviour is to take place. Consultation with the target population is considered of utmost importance. Advocacy and lobbying can help to create the so-called “enabling environment”.

Food and nutrition security in the context of HIV/AIDS 5 May – 23 May
HIV/AIDS and food and nutrition security are entwined in a vicious circle. HIV/AIDS by being an infectious disease is a ‘drain’ to the human body’s nutritional reserves. An adequate nutritional situation is important to maintain quality of life and limit the occurrence of opportunistic infections. On the other hand, HIV/AIDS increases the risk of food (and nutrition) insecurity, mainly through loss of labour. Researchers have revealed many of the interactions between food and nutrition security and HIV/AIDS. The translation of this into practical policies and programmes is the necessary next step. This course aims to provide professionals working in food and nutrition security with the knowledge, skills and creativity, to incorporate the specific effects of HIV/AIDS on food and nutrition security in the design and implementation of programmes and interventions directed to improving food and nutrition security, with the specific aim to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on the livelihood of affected households.

Monitoring and evaluation of impact on food and nutrition security 26 May – 13 June

Increasingly and also reinforced by the attention for the Millennium Development Goals, there is a need to assess the impact of a variety of interventions, programmes and policies on food and nutrition security. Such monitoring and evaluation takes place by governments, international agencies but also at the level of NGOs. There is a strong interaction between data gathering and policies: data and information influence policy formulation and data are gathered to determine impact of policies. The course focuses on the design of information support systems at various levels (national, district/provincial, community or household), on data collection and analysis and on the institutional prerequisites for the systems in order for the information to be adequately used. Course participants will be working in groups on designing information systems. Course participants will be introduced to various software programmes relevant to monitoring and evaluation.

Wageningen International reserves the right to change the programme.

Requirements for admission
Applicants should meet the following requirements:

  • BSc. (as a minimum) or its equivalent in the field of food and nutrition, food science, home economics, agriculture, medicine or a related field of study professional position with tasks related to the theme of the course
  • At least three years of professional experience related to the theme of the course
  • Competence in the English language.

Certificate
Participants in one or more courses will receive a certificate of attendance. A postgraduate diploma will be awarded to participants of the full training programme who have met the requirements as laid down by the Supervisory Board.

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