Poverty, Health, and Nutrition (PHND)

Poverty, food insecurity, and poor nutrition and health are among the most pernicious problems eroding quality of life and limiting economic productivity. The Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division's research examines the main drivers of poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition and identifies effective strategies to improve the lives of poor populations in developing countries. The division's main focus is to increase the poor’s incomes, improve livelihoods and access to healthy diets, and promote human capital development. PHND studies the role of a broad range of social protection, agriculture, health, and education programs and policies in reducing poverty and enhancing nutrition, health, and education outcomes. The division also explores the linkages and synergies among these sectors. Gender is central to this research. Several projects identify innovative ways to empower women to maximize impacts. The division uses state-of-the-art techniques to rigorously evaluate the impact of both pilot and scaled-up programs implemented by governments, UN institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector.

At the policy level, the division also works with a large number of partners and stakeholders to undertake research aimed at better understanding the drivers and pathways of change in nutrition.  How are enabling environments for nutrition cultivated, enhanced, and sustained? What is the role of leadership and other elements of nutrition-relevant capacity? How can we improve (and monitor) political commitment and policy coherence, while strengthening systems of accountability in nutrition? These are some of the questions being voiced by many countries as they seek to scale up nutrition.

Research, outreach, and capacity-strengthening activities focus on Africa (including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda) and South Asia (including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Vietnam) with a continuing presence in Latin America (including Guatemala and Mexico).