Feinstein team leads workshop in Kenya investigating malnutrition

As part of the Nawiri program in Kenya, Helen Young, Elizabeth Stites, Anastasia Marshak, and Achiba Gargule led a three-day Analysis Workshop in Kenya. The workshop brought together Nawiri partners (Catholic Relief Services, Kenyatta University, and Tufts) to discuss the findings from the first year of a two-year (2021-2023) longitudinal research study on the seasonality of child acute malnutrition.

The study is investigating the drivers of acute malnutrition among pastoralists, agro-pastoralists, pastoralist fisher folk, and households living in peri-urban areas transitioning out of pastoralism in Marsabit and Isiolo counties in northern Kenya. During the workshop, participants reviewed the findings to date and developed plans for uptake of learning and use of evidence by multiple stakeholders, ranging from the communities themselves, to county and national government and international actors.

The research team also visited study sites to investigate the affects of the recent heavy rains that ended the protracted drought. After five failed rainy seasons, livestock were in a weakened state and suffered further losses linked to the flooding, cold and wet conditions, and increase in livestock disease. Although the remaining animals are now becoming stronger, recovery is far from assured and depends on the next rainy season.

Child morbidity has also reportedly increased, which given the persistently high rates of acute malnutrition is a major concern. The health and nutrition situation of children and their communities will be confirmed by the ninth round of quantitative longitudinal data collection which is currently underway. A report on the first year of findings, and learning briefs will be published shortly.