A three-day training workshop on implementing socio-economic and nutritional assessment surveys jointly organized by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) and ICRISAT from 19 to 22 September 2017, was held at the Regional Agriculture Research Station, BARI, Jamalpur, in Bangladesh. The workshop is part of the first phase of pilot studies of the ongoing United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-Innovation Knowledge Progress (IKP) Knowledge Park-funded project on ‘Promoting peanut based supplementation through partnerships to treat malnutrition in Bangladesh.’
Mr Mustapha El Hamzaoui, Director, Food Security Office of USAID-India, who was on a visit to ICRISAT to
review the project’s progress together with Mr Vamsidhar Reddy, project management specialist, attended the workshop remotely along with principal investigators from ICRISAT, Dr P Janila and Dr Saikat Datta Mazumdar.
The workshop involved 10 enumerators (6 men and 4 women) who were trained on how to take the informed consent of survey participants, how to use tablet-based surveys and capture digital data. The enumerators will begin the work of recording their observations in a tablet using a digital questionnaire at the two sites of Islampur (Jamalpur district) and Lalmonirhat (Lalmonirhat district). They will also record anthropometric data on height, weight, mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) measurements and hemoglobin levels using a non-invasive device called the ‘Pulse CO-Oxymeter’.
The tablet-based surveys are part of a 6 month pilot study on using peanut based food supplements for nutritional interventions among school children at the two locations. Using a structured baseline and endline study, they are designed to include data on the socio-economic status of beneficiaries’ households in addition to dietary diversity at the household level. The baseline surveys, which will be completed in October 2017 in both locations, will cover 500 primary school children (between 5-10 years of age) and their respective households.
During his visit to ICRISAT, Mr Hamzaoui also saw the latest research on groundnut breeding being conducted by ICRISAT’s Crop Improvement theme and Center for Excellence in Genomics. Presented with prototypes of groundnut-based food supplements developed by the NutriPlus Knowledge Program at the Agri-business and Innovation Platform, ICRISAT, he noted that private sector partnerships were a key strategy for up-scaling development efforts, and were essential for the success of the project. The food supplements demonstrated included groundnut bars (30% peanut) that provides approximately 429 kcal of energy/100 g; nutri-cookies (26% peanut) with about 445.08 kcal of energy/100 g and a groundnut spread (36% peanut) with approximately 495.3 kcal of energy/100 g.
The groundnut bar and nutri-cookies were shortlisted for use in the pilot study based on an acceptability study conducted among the school children in Belgasha Government Primary School, Jamalpur district, Bangladesh.
As the project involves technology transfer to PRAN Agro industries (PRAN) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for local production and the supply of food supplements, Dr Mazumdar and Dr Manjurul (BARI) visited the PRAN facility in Habiganj Industrial Park, Bangladesh, and discussed the modalities of technology transfer, and production and supply of the peanut-based food supplements. The supply will begin following the completion of the baseline survey.