Beyond the Drinking Glass: Expanding our Understanding of Water-Nutrition Linkages

Wednesday 31 August | 11.00-12.30 | Room: FH Congress Hall A
Private Pump, IWMI Flickr 2015

Water access and management play central roles in determining nutritional outcomes.  Water-for-nutrition is most often approached from a WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) perspective, whereby the aim is to improve domestic water quality and practices, thus reducing the burden of water-borne diseases in a population.  A WASH focus for improving nutritional outcomes is especially pertinent, given recent evidence highlighting the role of diarrheal disease and environmental enteropathy in determining child stunting.  However, there are a number of water-nutrition pathways in addition to WASH that would benefit from greater attention in research and discussion. 

First, the role of gender-inclusive water programs and policies could be critical in improving nutritional status.  Since research highlights how empowering women may lead to improvements in nutrition, the role of women in management of water resources should be more closely analyzed.  Second, the pathway by which irrigation can improve nutritional outcomes through agricultural practices has not been thoroughly explored.  In this session, we will discuss various pathways from water to nutrition, with insights from nutrition, WASH, gender and irrigation experts.  


Chair - Mark Rosegrant

Moderator - Biniam Iyob

11:00 Welcome

11:05 Exploring the Pathways by which Water can Influence Nutritional Status: An interactive activity, whereby participants write down components of the water-nutrition “system” on notecards and connect them with arrows in small groups, and then discuss in plenary.

Oral presentations:

11:20 Irrigation-nutrition linkages: Insights from the ILSSI project and beyond
Dawit Mekonnen, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 

11:32 Improving Community-Led Total Sanitation through Experimental Games
Yaniv Stopnitzky, University of San Francisco, presented by Dawit Mekonnen

11:44 Agriculture, Water Quality, Nutrition and Health
Nicolas Gerber, ZEF 

11:56 Multiple-use water services and improved dietary diversity in rural Tanzania and Burkina Faso
Sara Marks, EAWAG

12:08 Discussion

12:25 Summary and wrap-up by moderator
Biniam Iyob, USAID