Vicky received her PhD in International Nutrition from Division on Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University in 2019. Her thesis research focused on participatory nutrition-sensitive agroecology intervention to improve sustainable farming practices, food security, gender equity, women’s well-being, and child’s nutrition in Singida, Tanzania. Prior to her PhD, she completed her MSc Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in 2014.
Participatory projects consider participants as key partners and therefore actively involve them throughout the project (i.e. project design, implementation, evaluation). Participation often improves a project’s success by ensuring that innovations are relevant, practical, and thereby more sustainable. However, most nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions have not used participatory approaches. Three possible barriers to the use of participatory approaches in nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions include: (a) unfamiliarity with the approach or discomfort with its techniques as participatory approaches are not central to agriculture and nutrition training, (b) perceived high burden (e.g. cost, time) to participants, implementers, and evaluators, and (c) uncertain benefits. Therefore, this study aims to compile a toolkit of various participatory techniques to help scholars and researchers in nutrition-sensitive agriculture to more easily incorporate participatory approaches into their design, implementation, and evaluation to address barriers (a) and (b). This will be done using a literature review and participatory approaches with farmers and other experts who have used participatory approaches in agriculture and nutrition interventions.This work will be done in conjunction with Soil, Food and Healthy Community (SFHC), long-time champions of using participatory approach in improving livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Malawi.