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en-net updates

En-net update June to August 2018 inclusive

Over the past three months 42 questions have been posted on en-net, generating 78 responses. The forum areas for Assessment and Prevention and management of severe acute malnutrition generated most discussions, closely followed by the newly launched Adolescent nutrition area. Thirty-six vacancy announcements have been posted, which have accumulated 8,344 views on the website.

Discussions in the new Adolescent nutrition area have revolved around how to reach adolescents, particularly those who are out of school; and how to conduct nutrition education with this group. 

It was reported that much of the available literature profiles programming conducted in East and South Asia. For example, Thailand has a health education programme for out-of-school adolescents that utilises community theatre to convey messages about sexual and reproductive health and rights. In Malaysia, the Ministry of Health partnered with UNICEF and the Programme for Staying Healthy without AIDS for Youth (PROSTAR) to provide life skills building information, including nutrition information, through peer education. 

A systematic review ( looking at effective interventions aimed at reaching out-of-school children in South Asia outlines the impact of pro-poor economic incentives, such as cash transfers, as well as non-formal education solutions, such as community-led programmes and vocational and skills training, for educating these youth. The paper concludes that, in this region, approaches to reach out-of-school children need to be tailored to reflect the situation analysis of communities, households, development partners, and governments, including the education sector. Success of incentive programmes, like cash transfers or food-for-education programmes, rely on effective targeting of families and children who are in need; while communities that are located in remote areas require additional support. In Myanmar, the development and success of Community Learning Centres for providing basic literacy and post-literacy activities could be a model for other isolated communities. 

While the mention of out-of-school adolescents has begun to show up more frequently in strategic plans, specific nutrition programmes to reach this population are less well established and evaluations of these programmes are even less prominent.

In 2016, International Medical Corps described the inclusion of adolescent girls in community Care Groups in northern Nigeria,, which demonstrated how women's groups or peer support group models might be applied to reaching out-of-school adolescents

WFP Niger has recently scaled-up its adolescent nutrition programming and adapted its targeting strategy to ensure that all girls between 10 and 19 years of age in target households receive nutrition support, including daily iron and folic acid supplements. An article on this effort is forthcoming in Field Exchange.

Effective adolescent health interventions, including micronutrient supplementation and nutrition interventions for pregnant adolescents, are summarised along with priorities for further research in a 2016 paper in the Journal of Adolescent Health (Salam RA, Das JK, Lassi ZS, Bhutta ZA. Adolescent Health Interventions: Conclusions, Evidence Gaps, and Research Priorities. J Adolesc Health. 2016 Oct;59(4S):S88-S92).

WFP and Anthrologica have recently launched a report on adolescent health and nutrition based on research in Kenya, Uganda, Guatemala, and Cambodia, funded by Unilever. The synthesis report and country summaries are available here:

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Contributions: Mica Jenkins, Emily Keats, Natasha Lelijveld, Jo Lofthouse, Emily Mates, Ruth.

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