SD.20.006 – Empowerment-based nutrition interventions for adolescent girls in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs)

Route: Sustainable development goals for inclusive global development

Cluster question: 059 How can we help children and adolescents grow up safe and healthy?

Adolescence has been recognised as a crucial period to address malnutrition. Adolescence, considered as the preconception period, has the potential to produce a ‘triple dividend’ of benefits to adolescents now, into future adult life, and for the next generation of children. However, many adolescent girls, especially in LMICs, are at risk of nutrient deficiencies as well as poor pregnancy and birth outcomes, often caused by gender inequities. Numerous studies have identified a significant association between empowerment and women’s and children’s nutritional status. This project aims to improve the nutritional status of adolescent girls through integrating empowerment strategies in nutrition interventions and policies, which will be achieved through four objectives. First, we will engage with key stakeholders to seek input on the design of the project and identify nutrition-sensitive policies such as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes, agriculture programmes and family planning programmes that can serve as a possible delivery platform. Secondly, we will co-design and test the feasibility and acceptability of new empowerment-based nutrition interventions that improve girls’ awareness of the choices available to her to improve her nutritional status and to increase her motivation to act. These interventions, designed through participatory approaches, may include peer mentoring programmes, life skills, school gardening, entrepeneurship education and sensitisation programmes for parents and teachers. Thirdly, through mixed methods research approaches we will analyse the impact of implementing such an integrated approach on nutrition (SDG2) and health outcomes (SDG3) as well as identifying win-wins and trade-offs with other important sustainable development goals. This will include putting together an economic case for intervening pre-conceptually. Finally, we will disseminate findings to potential future users, advocate for necessary changes in policies and assess requirements for successful scaling-up to other vulnerable settings.


empowerment adolescence nutrition security

Other organisations

b, iccdd, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG), Southampton University, Wageningen Universities and Research (WUR)


Organisation University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Name Dr. Regien Biesma