Pathways from livestock to improved human nutrition: lessons learned in East Africa

Valerie Flax*, Emily Ouma, Isabelle Baltenweck, Esther Omosa, Amy Girard, Nathan Jensen, Paula Dominguez‑Salas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The Livestock CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) Research Program (Livestock CRP)
generated evidence on livestock-to-nutrition pathways through the implementation of nutrition-related livestock programs
and research. In this analysis, we compiled lessons learned from Livestock CRP projects and identified recommendations
for nutrition-sensitive livestock programming and research in the context of the literature and through the development
of an updated livestock-to-nutrition pathways framework. The updated framework shows the interconnected nature of the
three main pathways—own-consumption, income, and women’s empowerment—along with other pathways and includes
contextual factors, which were lacking in previous frameworks. Eight Livestock CRP projects were reviewed, including five
integrated livestock and human nutrition projects, two studies on drivers of food choice, and one study to develop and test a
tool to measure nutrition outcomes among pastoralists. Key lessons learned were that women’s empowerment in livestock-tonutrition pathways is important, but challenging to measure; engaging male partners improves nutrition in livestock-keeping
households; nutrition-sensitive livestock programs and researchers should articulate and measure livestock-to-nutrition
pathways they are addressing; livestock keeping does not guarantee access to animal source foods; context and livelihoods
are not static and program design should be adapted accordingly; and digital data collection systems can provide accurate
and timely nutrition information. Key recommendations include developing tools to fill measurement gaps; creating shorter
versions of validated tools for ease of use; using complexity-aware evaluation methods to capture the interconnected nature
of livestock-to-nutrition pathways and shifting livelihoods; and conducting pathways analyses to better understand linkages
in the framework and further refine it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1293-1312
Number of pages20
JournalFood Security
Issue number5
Early online date25 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Africa
  • Drivers of food choice
  • Livestock
  • Nutrition
  • Nutrition-sensitive programs
  • Pathways
  • Social and behavior change communication
  • Women’s empowerment


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