Outcome 1 – Food systems governance through multisectoral platforms

The Government of Bangladesh has outlined its multisectoral, multi-level nutrition strategy in its National Nutrition Policy 2015 and in the second National Plan of Action for Nutrition (NPAN-2; 2016-2025). Within these policies, the Bangladesh National Nutrition Council (BNNC) is tasked with supervision of the implementation of the policies, including establishing relevant linkages and facilitating the necessary coordination among different sectors and organizations and establishing nutrition and food systems coordination and communication with regional and national level nutrition administration. District and upazila nutrition coordination committees (DNCC and UNCC) have thus been adopted as the vehicle for coordination of implementation of NPAN-2 at district and upazila level.

In Rangpur, DNCC is currently mainly supported by the Joint Action for Nutrition Outcomes project (JANO) by Care Bangladesh, Plan International Bangladesh and ESDO who convene the quarterly DNCC meetings that NICE routinely attends since December 2021.

For better coordination of health and nutrition services, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also established a City Level Multisectoral Nutrition Coordination Committees (CLMNCC) for better coordination of health and nutrition services in in Rangpur. By partnering with UNDP, NICE made Rangpur CLMNCC more multisectoral by including upazila agriculture officers, upazila fisheries officers and upazila livestock officers into the quarterly CLMNCC meetings starting from 22Mar2022.

Besides the committees, Rangpur also has its own Upazila and District Plan of Action for Nutrition, and a City-led City Nutrition Action Plan pushed by NICE has been endorsed by CLMNCC on 28Sep2022. However, the City-led City Nutrition Action Plan is not yet foreseeing direct budget, but is compiling activities of all CLMNCC stakeholders. While Rangpur’s CLMNCC has a template to track nutrition expanses by all CLMNCC stakeholders, in practice, stakeholders are not willing to share these information among each other despite intensive advocacy on nutrition expanses tracking through UNDP in the past, what NICE is currently trying to re-emphasize with respective advocacy.

Besides city-level nutrition coordination, NICE is also establishing and institutionalizing NICE Food Systems women and youth groups at upazila and ward level to allow women and youth to better raise their voice and to support them with capacity building on systems thinking and empowerment.

February 20, 2023

Outcome 2 – Increased agroecological production

In December 2021, a group of 12 experts was convened in Rangpur to select the key value chains for the NICE project in a participatory, multi-stakeholder approach. Different value chains were rated as per the general value chain selection criteria of the project with scoring each value chain on a 3-point scale (1-3) and excluding commodities with a low total score from further consideration. Agreement was achieved on further supporting the following 9 value chains through the NICE project:

  • Brinjal
  • Bitter gourd
  • Sweet gourd
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Drumstick
  • Zinc-enriched rice
  • Mango
  • Eggs

11 NICE farmers’ hubs focusing on nutritious and safe production have been established in the Rangpur area through NICE since project start and 250 smallholder farmers received training on adopting acroecological practices such as soil testing, minimum use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides, use of organic matter and pesticides, crop rotation, intercropping, and use of personal safety materials through the farmers’ hubs.

Furthermore, a farmers’ survey to understand the current status and potential for agroecological practices in Rangpur using an adapted version of FAO’s Self-evaluation and Holistic Assessment of climate Resilience of farmers and Pastoralists tool (SHARP) with 150 farmers was conducted in March 2022 and designing of additional, NICE-specific agroecology interventions is currently on-going in a participatory process.

February 20, 2023

Outcome 3 – Demand generation

To foster demand for and knowledge about nutritious and locally, agroecologically produced food contributing to a balanced diet, NICE took partnership with the Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development (BIID) and could implement Nutrition Clubs taking care of school-owned nutrition gardens in 8 schools in Rangpur city corporation.

Furthermore, formative research to inform a specific social behavior change campaign increasing nutrition literacy and the demand for nutritious and locally, agroecologically produced food has been conducted in Rangpur in Sep2022, informing a large demand generation campaign expected in Q3 2023.

February 20, 2023

Outcome 4 – Learning and scale up

Knowledge sharing and learning activities in Rangpur are currently largely focused on exchanging experiences and forging synergies with the other NICE cities in Bangladesh, Kenya, and Rwanda. NICE focal persons at city level as well as implementing partners actively participated in 3 online peer-learning sessions in June and November 2022 and January 2023 where valuable inputs were shared, and the responsible project city coordinator participated in the NICE Winter School in Kenya 11-18Feb2023.

Also, NICE recently supported Bangladesh’s Food Safety Authority with dissemination of their respective, renewed dietary guidelines in Rangpur as well as to advocate for having the right of food in Bangladesh’s constituency.

February 20, 2023

Baseline Situation

At baseline, a team of experienced enumerators visited 299 households in both the slum (153) and the non-slum (146) area of Rangpur to collect information on the nutritional status, socio-economic information and consumption behavior of the city population. This survey revealed food insecurity in the majority (55.2%) of the visited households in Rangpur, which increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 22.0% of the children under 5 years were too short for their age and therefore stunted, and 7.7% were underweight. Furthermore, 42.4% of women and 21.3% of men were overweight. Many women did not consume an adequately diverse diet (29.4% consumed less than 5 food groups in the previous 24 hours). All this indicates the kind of obstacles faced by the urban population of Rangpur to access a diverse and nutritious diet, with likely negative effects on their longer-term health. On the other hand, many of the urban and peri-urban households owned farmland, overall 74%. This provides an opportunity for NICE activities to assist in an increase and diversification of locally and agroecologically produced nutritious foods and in making them more accessible for the city population, including vulnerable city population groups. Baseline data were collected in Jun2022.

The Rangpur City Corporation partners with the NICE consortium for the NICE project.