An Analysis of Indicators and Measurement Tools Used in Zambia to Measure the Impact of Agricultural Extension Programs on Gender Equity and Nutrition Outcomes
In Zambia, investment in agricultural extension with a focus on gender equity and nutrition outcomes has been increasing, and in the last decade, several organizations have replicated projects in different geographical areas. However, with persistent high prevalence of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies still being recorded especially among children below the age of five, it is either these initiatives have little impact on reducing malnutrition, they are not sufficient, the correct programs are not being implemented, and/or the methods used to measure the impact may be inappropriate.
Zambia is currently ranked one of the 30 countries with the highest rates of gender inequality. At the same time, child malnutrition is high with 40% of the children below the age of five suffering from stunted growth. The high rates of gender inequality in Zambia, coupled with the nutrition status of women and children, demonstrate the opportunity for improving gender equity and nutrition outcomes through agricultural interventions. Additionally, given available evidence that high levels of gender inequality are associated with higher levels of both acute and chronic under-nutrition (Ruel et al. 2015; Herforth and Harris 2014), addressing gender equity becomes one way of achieving projects’ and ultimately the country’s desired nutrition outcomes. Agricultural extension has proved useful for delivering gender and nutrition education among rural farming communities (MEAS 2013).