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MILK MATTERS: The Impact of Dry Season Livestock Support on Milk Supply and Child Nutrition in Somali Region, Ethiopia

MILK MATTERS: The Impact of Dry Season Livestock Support on Milk Supply and Child Nutrition in Somali Region, Ethiopia

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Children who live in pastoralist areas are increasingly referred to as some of the most nutritionally vulnerable in the world. In Somali Region, Ethiopia, levels of global acute malnutrition among young children are regularly reported to rise above 15 percent, the level defined as a nutritional emergency by the World Health Organization. Yet from work going back many decades in the Region, we know that animal milk, one of the most nutritionally complete foods in the world, plays an extremely important role in the diets of these children. Whilst there is considerable research and early warning literature that highlights the importance of livestock and livestock products for the income and the dietary intake of pastoralists in Somali Region, there is little work that describes use of these products within and amongst households, or that attempts to evaluate the significance of access to milk for the nutritional status of children. Phase I of the Milk Matters study investigated the value and use of milk in these communities (Milk Matters: The Role and Value of Milk in the Diets of Somali Pastoralist Children in Liben and Shinile, Ethiopia). Importantly, it established that, when available, milk is prioritized for consumption by young children and that the seasonal lack of access to animals and animal products, exacerbated during periods of drought, is widely perceived by pastoralists as a primary factor behind child malnutrition.
Children who live in pastoralist areas are increasingly referred to as some of the most nutritionally vulnerable in the world. In Somali Region, Ethiopia, levels of global acute malnutrition among young children are regularly reported to rise above 15 percent, the level defined as a nutritional emergency by the World Health Organization. Yet from work going back many decades in the Region, we know that animal milk, one of the most nutritionally complete foods in the world, plays an extremely important role in the diets of these children. Whilst there is considerable research and early warning literature that highlights the importance of livestock and livestock products for the income and the dietary intake of pastoralists in Somali Region, there is little work that describes use of these products within and amongst households, or that attempts to evaluate the significance of access to milk for the nutritional status of children. Phase I of the Milk Matters study investigated the value and use of milk in these communities (Milk Matters: The Role and Value of Milk in the Diets of Somali Pastoralist Children in Liben and Shinile, Ethiopia). Importantly, it established that, when available, milk is prioritized for consumption by young children and that the seasonal lack of access to animals and animal products, exacerbated during periods of drought, is widely perceived by pastoralists as a primary factor behind child malnutrition.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Feinstein International Center on May 22, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Strengthening the humanity and dignity of people in crisis through knowledge and practice
MAY 2012
MILK MATTERSThe Impact o Dry Season LivestockSupport on Milk Supply and Child Nutritionin Somali Region, Ethiopia 
Kate Sadler, Emily Mitchard, Abdulahi Abdi,Yoseph Shiferaw, Gezu Bekele, and Andrew Catley
 
Feinstein International Center 2
 
©2012 Feinstein International Center. All Rights Reserved.Fair use o this copyrighted material includes its use or non-commercial educationalpurposes, such as teaching, scholarship, research, criticism, commentary, and newsreporting. Unless otherwise noted, those who wish to reproduce text and image flesrom this publication or such uses may do so without the Feinstein InternationalCenter’s express permission. However, all commercial use o this material and/orreproduction that alters its meaning or intent, without the express permission o theFeinstein International Center, is prohibited.Feinstein International CenterTuts University114 Curtis StreetSomerville, MA 02144USAtel: +1 617.627.3423ax: +1 617.627.3428fc.tuts.edu
 
Milk Matters: The Impact o Dry Season Livestock Support on Milk Supply and Child Nutrition in Somali Region, Ethiopia3
Suggested citation
Sadler, K., Mitchard, E., Abdi, A., Shieraw, Y., Bekele, G., andCatley, A. (2012). Milk Matters: The impact o dry season livestocksupport on milk supply and child nutrition in Somali Region,Ethiopia. Feinstein International Center, Tuts University and Savethe Children, Addis Ababa.
Acknowledgements
This report was made possible with unding rom the Oce o Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), United States Agency or International Development (USAID). The authors would like tothank Axel Weiser, Girma Tadesse, Mohammed Musse, and NastehaAhmed o Save the Children USA and Hassan Ibrahim andMohammed Ali o Save the Children UK or providing considerablesupport and hard work throughout the implementation o the study,as well as or providing valuable eedback or this report. Thanks alsogo to Adrian Cullis o the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)or important input on initial concepts and intervention design.
Photo credits
Kate Sadler, Emily Mitchard, and Fiona Flintan (or cover photo o children drinking milk)

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