The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition in Jordan aims to generate evidence on the impact of USAID Jordan’s Community Health and Nutrition activity and build academic capacity to support research on optimal health and nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women (PLW) and children under two in Jordan. This will be achieved through successful implementation of two key objectives:
- Objective 1: includes a rigorous research agenda, including an impact evaluation of the impact of USAID Jordan’s Community Health and Nutrition (CHN) activity, and,
- Objective 2: aims at building individual and institutional capacity in Jordan to conduct and interpret research and train future nutritionists in the realm of maternal and infant young child nutrition.
To achieve objective 1, the Innovation Lab for Nutrition will conduct its research and evaluation activities in collaboration and in areas that the CHN (Community Health and Nutrition) program will actively implement its program targeting population that includes pregnant, postpartum and lactating women, and the primary caretakers of children under the age of two. These include 1) Quantitative Impact Evaluation of the CHN activity, 2) Quantitative and Qualitative Process and Performance Evaluation, 3) Assessment of Sustainability, and 4) implementation of nutrition focused research through secondary analysis of national surveys.
To achieve objective 2, the Innovation Lab for Nutrition will work at the national and sub-national levels, in coordination with USAID Jordan and local academic and research institutions and partners to build individual and institutional capacity in Jordan to conduct and interpret research and train future nutritionists in the realm of maternal and infant young child nutrition. The Innovation Lab for Nutrition will support small grants to Jordanian junior faculty and/or graduate students conducting their master’s or PhD research on IYCF and public health nutrition, offer seminars and guest lectures on the link between sub-optimal feeding (breast and complementary feeding) and resulting overweight and obesity and risks of non-communicable diseases later in life, and implement an annual symposia to promote sharing, understanding and adoption of concrete evidence on IYCF practices, generate awareness at the policy levels and provide an opportunity to Jordanian academics and students to define and examine the evidence base around IYCF practices. These activities will offer a platform for generating awareness at the policy, program and academic levels on the link between IYCF practices, sub-optimal feeding and its links to nutrition outcomes and risks of non-communicable diseases.
Based on the understanding of the nutrition landscape in Jordan, in addition to consistent engagement with USAID Jordan and FHI 360, the CHN program implementers, the Innovation Lab for Nutrition will engage with policy stakeholders (e.g. Ministry of Health), with academic institutions that may not be core partners but that function within the space of IYCF and breast feeding, with the National Nutrition working group, with UN agencies such as UNICEF, WFP and WHO and other bilateral partners.