Improving nutrition of women and children through livestock programming
The University of Florida is home to the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. The vision of this USAID funded research for development project is “to sustainably intensify smallholder livestock systems through groundbreaking research, technology application, significant capacity building, and co-production of knowledge in order to improve human nutrition, health, and incomes”. McKune lead’s the human health and nutrition cross cutting theme of the UF-based research team, seeking to leverage increased availability of animal-source foods (ASF), increased incomes, and increased women’s empowerment to improve the nutritional outcomes of women and children. ASF are often absent in diets rural households, particularly children and women who need them most. Due to their high content of quality protein and bioavailable micronutrients, increased consumption of ASF can improve the nutritional status as well as the growth, psychomotor functions, cognitive development, and health of children, especially infants under the age of two. In collaboration with the broader LSIL team, McKune is investigating the role of women’s empowerment, food availability, and income on the consumption of ASF foods among rural households in Zinder and Maradi regions of Niger, and Centre-Nord and Est regions of Burkina Faso.