Back to search

Cost and affordability of nutritious diets in Malawi and the role of cash transfers

Save the Children International Save the Children International 2022-5-01
Article on cost of the diet (CotD) analysis conducted in May 2022 to inform the design of the new Maziko – Maternal and Child Cash Grant pilot project. The aim of the CotD analysis was to estimate the minimum cost and affordability of a nutritious diet nationally, and for rural, urban, poor and ultra-poor populations in Malawi; identify trends in the past 12 months; and model effects of different cash transfer sizes on the affordability of nutritious diets. The CotD is a Save the Children method and software which uses linear programming, bringing four datasets together - food composition tables, individual nutritional specifications, and local food price data collected through market surveys - to calculate the best combination of foods needed in a specific context to meet households and individuals’ nutritional needs. It is also used to model and identify the best interventions to reduce the cost or affordability gap of a nutritious diet. For this study, we used existing World Food Programme's (WFP) Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB) monthly prices for 28 different food items between April 2021 and March 2022, collected from 77 markets in 25 districts. This data was imported into the CotD software to calculate the cost of different diets (energy only, meeting all nutritional needs etc). The cost of a nutritious diet (including essential non-food expenditure) was compared with per capita income from the Malawi Poverty Report published in August 2021, to estimate the affordability gap of a nutritious diet. The CotD modelling tool was then used to estimate the effects of different cash transfer interventions to reduce that gap.
  • Economic
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Other Crises
  • Social Support and Protection
  • Africa
  • Malawi
  • Southern Africa
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)
  • Children (boys and/or girls 1-10 years old)
  • Households
  • Mothers
  • Pregnant Women and/or Girls
  • Women (adults and/or adolescents)
  • Research
  • Article
  • Scientific Publication/Journal article

Highlighted Sources

Act now before Ukraine war plunges millions into malnutrition

  • Advocacy
  • Policy
  • Research
  • Policy Guidance Document
  • Scientific Publication/Journal article
  • COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Economic
  • Education
  • Food Insecurity
  • Gender and/or Agency
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Other Crises
  • Social Support and Protection
  • Ukraine War
  • Women and/or Girls
2022-4-21
Article on the impact of the Ukraine war on global malnutrition, laying out the elements contributing to this worldwide nutrition crisis including the disproportionate effects on women and children. It puts forward five urgent actions to be taken by governments, donors, and others to protect current and future generations from the devastating effects of malnutrition as well as to prevent acute food insecurity. View Source

Economic shocks predict increases in child wasting prevalence

  • Research
  • Article
  • Scientific Publication/Journal article
  • COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Economic
  • Food Insecurity
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Other Crises
  • Social Support and Protection
2022-04-20
Article on the impact of severe negative economic shock on child acute malnutrition (wasting), a major risk factor for under-5 mortality. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) macroeconomic volatility is common, and severe negative economic shocks can substantially increase poverty and food insecurity. Less well understood are the implications of these contractions for child wasting. This study explores the nutritional impacts of economic growth shocks over 1990–2018 by linking wasting outcomes collected for 1.256 million children from 52 countries to lagged annual changes in economic growth. Estimates suggest that a 10% annual decline in national income increases moderate/severe wasting prevalence by 14.4–17.8%. An exploration of possible mechanisms suggests negative economic shocks may increase risks of inadequate dietary diversity among children. Applying these results to the latest economic growth estimates for 2020 suggests that COVID-19 could put an additional 9.4 million preschoolers at risk of wasting, net of the effects of preventative policy actions. View Source

Assessing and mitigating the impact of shocks on food security and nutrition in the Asia Pacific region: Lessons from the COVID-19 response for informing the Global Food Crisis response

  • Policy
  • Research
  • Brief
  • Policy Guidance Document
  • Report
  • COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Economic
  • Food Insecurity
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Other Crises
  • Social Support and Protection
  • Ukraine War
  • Women and/or Girls
2022-7
Report on assessing and mitigating the impact of shocks on food security and nutrition in the Asia Pacific region to obtain lessons from the COVID-19 response for informing the Global Food Crises response. It lays out a series of studies undertaken by WFP and partners to better understand the realities of the food security and nutrition landscape since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. These are based on experiences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, where WFP has continually assessed household vulnerability to food and nutrition insecurity through monitoring surveys, while simultaneously providing technical assistance and operations support for programs in response to the pandemic in the Asia Pacific region. In addition to WFP’s food security monitoring reports and data made available from WFP’s Fill the Nutrient Gap analyses, this brief utilizes secondary data relevant to the crisis, as well as four documents recently published by WFP and its partners. While the focus of this brief is on the COVID-19 crisis, its lessons can be applied now and into the future. Other types of covariate shocks will create compounding problems for countries. View Source