Assessment of Agricultural Extension, Nutrition Education, and Integrated Agriculture-Nutrition Extension Services in the FTF Districts in Malawi



Vickie Sigman, Valerie Rhoe, Theresa Banda, Grace Malindi, John Peters .


UIUC, CRS, consultants (and USAID) .

Date Published:

July 1, 2014 .

In April 2014, at the invitation of USAID/Malawi, a MEAS team conducted an assessment of agricultural extension, nutrition education, and integrated agriculture-nutrition programs and systems in Malawi. An overarching purpose of the assessment is to investigate these programs and systems across public, private, and civil society sector providers with the aim of informing the design of an activity that will strengthen delivery of extension and nutrition outreach services in the seven Feed the Future focus districts in a coordinated and integrated manner.

The assessment methodology includes literature review, interviews and field visits, and an assessment review workshop. The team reviewed agriculture extension, nutrition, and integrated programming literature; carried-out over 55 individual and group interviews; and made field trips to three districts. The review workshop, in which over 25 stakeholders from across sectors participated, was held to present preliminary findings of the assessment and obtain further input from stakeholders.

The structures of key government agencies involved in agriculture extension, nutrition, and integrated agriculture-nutrition programming are assessed. This includes the Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS which is the national coordinating body for the global Scaling Up Nutrition movement and the four ministries dealing with agriculture and agricultural extension; health; local government; and gender, children, and social welfare. Each of the five agencies assessed has a structure that reaches from the national to the village level, most having staff or volunteers at the different levels, although there are typically numerous vacancies at the different levels. The levels are not the same across agencies, which contributes to coordination difficulties. Only three of the five assessed have staff at the field level with field level being the lowest level at which the agency operates, such as a village or a grouping of villages. The agriculture; health; and gender, children, and social work ministries have staff at the field level. Again, many of the established posts at this level are vacant.