Reducing malnutrition in women and children in Cambodia with the World Vegetable Center
The World Vegetable Center is an international nonprofit institute for vegetable research and development. This project sets out to reduce malnutrition in the target provinces in Cambodia, in particular of women and children. By developing home seed kits and participatory training sessions, women can produce nutritious vegetables in their own gardens. These household garden initiatives help people to help themselves, addressing some of the root causes of malnutrition. With Akvo, the World Vegetable Center uses data to drive decision making, monitor progress, and share results with partners.
Above: Yong Yeng, senior agriculture specialist at the World Vegetable Center, deploying vegetable seed kits to tackle malnutrition in Cambodia, 2017. Photo by Joy Ghosh.
According to the World Food Center, malnutrition is a top public health concern in Cambodia, causing approximately one third of child deaths. Access to appropriate nutrients also remains a major challenge, particularly in rural, food insecure areas where many people are unable to source micronutrients such as iron, calcium and zinc.
The World Vegetable Center set out to develop vegetable seed kits, along with participatory training schemes, for the production of nutritious vegetables through home gardens. In order to make data-driven decisions regarding the implementation of the project, and monitor and report on progress, the World Vegetable Center needed a robust and comprehensive data solution.
Using Akvo Flow, the World Vegetable Center has collected qualitative and quantitative data directly from the field using tablets and smartphones. Surveys are used to identify potential clients and the training workshops given to community members are monitored to ensure success. The training sessions range from workshops on the importance of food diversity to hands-on sessions on home garden agronomy.
Akvo Caddisfly is used to measure parameters such as pH, nitrate and phosphorus in the soil. By identifying the nutrients and immediately having that information available in Akvo Flow, decisions can be made regarding the best spots to plant vegetables for a year-round supply.
Using Akvo RSR, the various implementing partners can report on indicators defined by the World Vegetable Center. This way, all data is accurate and aggregated, making it much easier to understand and share the collected data.
Home garden scaling Cambodia
Home garden scaling Cambodia
In the first year of the project, more than 1,300 households took up improved agriculture and nutrition activities and were monitored using Akvo Flow. This resulted in the accumulation of more than 13,000 individual data records, including information about client characteristics, training activities, and the technical assistance they received from the project. Surveys were also designed in Flow to map and monitor seed suppliers and the seed requirements of villagers, resulting in a gap analysis to inform the suppliers about demands in the region.
The data captured steered the project in ways that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, with data reflecting the situation on the ground immediately and accurately. For example, the data revealed a high demand from clients for assistance with integrated pest management (IPM) techniques and a low demand for continued assistance with garden bed preparation and variety selection. With this information, internal resources were adjusted to focus more on IPM.