Zambia—Scaling Up Nutrition Technical Assistance (Zambia SUN TA)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2019-2023

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Zambia

Solutions: Global Health

DAI supported the Government of Zambia to reduce stunting among children under 2 years of age. The first phase of Zambia’s Scaling Up Nutrition program launched in 2011 and covered 14 districts; this phase expanded activities to 30 districts covering 7.1 million people, including 850,000 children under age 2 and their mothers.

Zambia SUN TA layered interventions in nutrition, health, agriculture, access to finance, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), building the capacity of Zambian counterparts at all levels to take these interventions forward. The Zambian government is committed to high-impact, nutrition-specific, and nutrition-sensitive interventions. The consortium collaborated with Zambia’s National Food and Nutrition Council (NFNC), ministry representatives, donors, district health workers, and sanitation service providers, among others. DAI’s consortium includes TechnoServe, EXP Zambia, Toilet Yanga, and Viamo.

Stunting is impaired growth and development that children experience as a result of poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. Affecting 40 percent of Zambian children under age 5, stunting can cause poor cognition and educational performance and other harmful lifelong effects. Zambia SUN TA worked to ensure that more of Zambia’s children grow up healthy, strong, and productive.

Our goal was to contribute to a reduction in stunting, a condition that affects far too many Zambian children—up to 35 percent of children under the age of five—causing lifelong effects such as poor cognition and limited educational performance. To reach this group, we engaged thousands of women in maternal and child health education, we worked with farmers across 13 districts to help them adopt climate-resilient farming practices to produce diverse, nutritious foods that are crucial to reducing stunting. Through new and rehabilitated boreholes, we delivered clean water to communities and helped improve sanitation, while the financial inclusion agenda saw us increase access to finance for thousands of rural women.

Sample Activities

  • Provide training and guidance to build the capacity of Zambia’s NFNC and line ministries to deliver nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive services.
  • Build the capacity of district- and ward-level staff to plan and coordinate demand-driven interventions in nutrition, health, agriculture, and WASH.
  • Collaborate with partners to assess local barriers and opportunities in areas such as WASH and food value chains, communications and messaging strategies, and uses of digital technology.
  • Capture knowledge from across districts and develop constituencies for sharing lessons learned and best practices to increase uptake of successes and decrease the use of less-effective efforts.

Select Results

  • More than 56,000 farmers received extension services, helping them adopt improved land management practices important for increasing their production and productivity.
  • Helped farmers increase sales of agricultural produce by 97.4 percent from 2020 to 2021.
  • Formed 1,456 new savings groups with a membership of 24,785 people who saved around $1 million, while 4,725 older members shared $455,493 for certified seed and fertilizer, farm labor, food, and reinvestment into their small businesses.
  • Helped 79,502 mothers benefit from activities and information on improved childcare practices, thereby contributing to raising healthy children.
  • Provided 188,124 people with family planning products and services provided within their localities, thereby increasing uptake and reducing distances to health centers.
  • Helped 322,015 households to build latrines, improving community sanitation and hygiene.
  • Built 239 new and rehabilitated boreholes, enabling 118,736 people to access clean and safe water, averting diarrheal diseases caused by drinking unsafe water.
  • Engaged community, civic, and traditional leaders to leverage their influence in mobilizing communities for social and behavioral change.


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