In 2009, HKI began a pilot project to reduce malnutrition and poverty among the extreme poor entitled Making Markets Work for Women (M²W²) funded by UKAID/SHIREE. In 2013, scale up funding was granted and the current project will end in August 2016. We outline the approach M2W2 took to improve dietary adequacy and increase consumption of animal source foods through intensive poultry production along with homestead gardening and nutrition education.
The poultry package introduced through M2W2 included trainings on creep feeding, appropriate breed selection, and timely vaccination. M2W2 also provided grants for improved poultry sheds and a supplemental feed allowance. Regular egg consumption was promoted to reduce malnutrition. A quasi-experimental impact assessment with a panel of matched extremely poor households was undertaken through quantitative surveys in October 2013 and October 2015.
Controlling for baseline levels, households enrolled in the program had significantly greater odds of rearing chickens (OR 4.5, p<0.000) and had 6.1 more chickens (p<0.000) compared to control households at endline. Diets also changed: enrolled women had significantly greater odds of consuming eggs (OR 2.7, p<0.003) and lower odds of consuming an inadequate diet (9-item scale, OR 0.4, p<0.001) compared to control. Number of birds owned mediated 21% of the impact of the treatment effect on women attaining adequate diets (p<0.007).
Poultry rearing contributed significantly to enabling access to nutrient-rich animal source foods among the extreme poor in Bangladesh as part of the M2W2 project. This project component should be continued in projects working with these populations.