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Leveraging a systems approach for healthier and sustainable diet policy in Ethiopia


Ethiopia has made significant progress in the past decade in reducing stunting and improving nutrition amongst its population, particularly for children under five years of age. Despite this success, challenges remain as poor diets are a major cause of malnutrition, morbidity, and mortality. The promotion of healthier diets is at the centre of initiatives to address the problems of undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, obesity, and emerging diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Although the Ethiopian government has initiated several policy initiatives to try to address this problem, the effective implementation of these initiatives will require a stronger understanding of the dietary gaps and the state of dietary transition in Ethiopia, as well as the mechanisms and processes by which multiple actors in the food systems can work together.

This project will employ a systems approach to map out the structure and dynamics of the food system in Ethiopia which influence the availability and affordability of protective and healthy foods. It will focus on actors involved in food production, transportation, and marketing, and will study the underlying factors that drive their influence on food availability, affordability, and acceptability. Existing policies and interventions, along with linkages among actors and stakeholders, will also be reviewed, mapped, and characterized. Knowledge gained from these studies will be foundational for developing and promoting policy interventions that encourage greater access and affordability of healthy and protective foods, particularly for low-income groups and other vulnerable populations.

By the end of this project, the research team will produce recommendations on policies that can promote healthy and protective foods for low-income and vulnerable people in a gender-equitable manner.

This project will be funded through the Catalyzing Change for Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems (CCHeFS) Initiative, a co-funding partnership between IDRC and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Project ID
Project Status
36 months
IDRC Officer
Madiha Ahmed
Total Funding
CA$ 911,700.00
Institution Country
Policy Studies Institute
Institution Country
The Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning/McGill University