GROW Learning Series
GROW’s ultimate goal was to improve food security for 20,000 women farmers and their families in the Upper West Region of Ghana. Project activities centered around helping women improve the availability, access to and utilization of appropriate and nutritious foods. This paper uses a causal model to consider the pathways by which GROW impacted food security and nutrition. These pathways are not mutually exclusive but work together to strengthen the project towards better household food security and nutrition.
The paper finds that GROW increased food production by training on soy production, which steadily increased throughout the project lifecycle. The project also tackled seasonal food insecurity by focusing on dry season vegetable farming and training on keyhole gardens. Women used some of the resulting food for income, improving their ability to purchase better food, hygiene, technology or education for themselves and their children. Through GROW a variety of media, GROW provided care and nutrition education to further encourage these practices. The project held nutrition sensitization trainings for men in recognition of their role in household nutrition and food security and offered technology grants to women to reduce their time and energy burden in cultivating soy.
Compared to baseline, reported household food insecurity has decreased, with 14% of respondents reporting “often” or “sometimes” food insecure at endline in 2018, compared to 35% in 2012. The duration and severity of seasonal food insecurity has also decreased, with 90% of respondents reporting a state of food security for at least 9 months in 2018, compared only 4 months in 2012. Dietary diversity remained similar to endline, with 11 food groups consumed, and some indication of shifting towards more diverse foods. GROW’s success in improving food security can be attributed to its integration of food security and nutrition as cross cutting themes across its programming. The project not only empowered women economically but provided the education, enabling environment and resources necessary to allow continuous improvement in food security and nutrition after the project’s conclusion.