The sustainability of a nutrition-sensitive agriculture intervention: a case study from urban Senegal

  • Stella NordhagenEmail author
  • Khadidjatou Thiam
  • Souleymane Sow
Original Paper


The sustainability of nutrition-sensitive agriculture projects has been identified as a research gap, and there is limited research available examining such initiatives in an urban context. We examine the sustainability of a nutrition-sensitive agriculture project implemented in Dakar, Senegal. It included provision of two “microgarden” tables, a henhouse, chickens, inputs, training, and education on nutrition and hygiene. This study was conducted 18 months after the project's end and sought to assess the intervention’s sustainability via a survey and in-depth interviews with former project participants. The microgarden tables had poor sustainability: only 5% of respondents continued to use them to grow vegetables. Most of those who continued saw it as a hobby, not a main productive activity. In contrast, 75% continued poultry-rearing activities, and 20% had more chickens than provided by the project. Some former participants had switched to more lucrative models of chicken production, with sales being more common than during the project and considerable revenues earned. This ability to earn income from chicken sales was the dominant motivator of continued production. Nutrition knowledge and practices remained at or near project levels. We discuss lessons for the sustainability of nutrition-sensitive agriculture more generally. These include that in the absence of project-provided incentives, some dis-adoption should be expected; in an urban area, improving incomes may be more relevant than improving production; and behavior change communication likely needs to be re-enforced over time to ensure sustainable changes in nutrition knowledge among parents of young children.


Nutrition-sensitive agriculture Sustainability Urban agriculture Gardening Poultry 



Thanks are due to the Helen Keller International Senegal team for supporting the work, Malick Diakhate for assisting with data collection, Rolf Klemm and Tom van Mourik for feedback on the methodology and earlier drafts of the paper, two anonymous reviewers and the editor for their feedback, all the participants and CDAs for their engagement, and Global Affairs Canada for funding the research was (award #7059619).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical declaration

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Plant Pathology and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Helen Keller InternationalRegional Office for AfricaDakarSénégal
  2. 2.Centre National d’état civil (CNEC), Ministère de la Gouvernance Territorialdu Développement et de l’Aménagement du Territoire (MGTDAT)DakarSénégal
  3. 3.Centre régional de Recherche et de Formation à la Prise en ChargeClinique de FannDakarSénégal

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