Evidence from the RAIN Model

Evidence from the RAIN Model

08 June 2016

The Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN) project was a partnership between Concern Worldwide, Mumbwa Child Development Agency (MCDA) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), aiming to design, implement and evaluate a model of multi-sectoral integration of interventions to reduce the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in Mumbwa district, in the Central Province of Zambia. It was made possible through generous funding from the Kerry Group and Irish Aid. 

A key component of the RAIN project was to document evidence of both impact and process for application in other contexts and at scale, through a rigorous evaluation design.

RAIN targeted children during the critical period from conception through 24 months of age, roughly equivalent to the first 1,000 days of life, through integrated agriculture, nutrition and health community based interventions.

Intervention arms

Under the project, three different intervention arms were established

  • An ‘Ag-Nut’ arm where agriculture and nutrition interventions were carried out
  • An ‘Ag-only’ arm where the focus was solely on agriculture interventions
  • A ‘Control’ arm for purposes of research comparison where no interventions were conducted.

Baseline and end line studies were carried out, as well as a couple of process evaluations.

RAIN impacts

Overall, the RAIN project had mixed impacts. The project had:

  • Consistently positive impacts on agricultural production
  • Impacts on different domains of women’s social and economic empowerment, as well as women’s empowerment in agriculture
  • Impacts on household food security as measured by household dietary diversity
  • A potential protective effect on child wasting.In general, where there were significant programme impacts, the magnitude of these impacts was larger in per-protocol analyses, among confirmed RAIN beneficiaries.

There were however no discernible impacts on reducing the prevalence of stunting, on improving infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices, or on improving caregiver health and nutrition knowledge. There appears to be little to no additional benefit of the Ag-Nutrition arm, compared to the Ag-only intervention arm for the impacts achieved. This is further evidenced by greater exposure to the agricultural intervention components of the RAIN project, compared to the nutrition intervention components.

Knowledge Products

Given the stronge research focus within RAIN a huge array of documenation was produced.For example, a peer reviewed article was published in The Journal of Development Studies, called, ' If They Grow It, Will They Eat and Grow? Evidence from Zambia on Agricultural Diversity and Child Undernutrition'. In this article they authors address a gap in our understanding of how household agricultural production diversity affects the diets and nutrition of young children living in rural farming communities in Zambia. Click here to see the article.

Here is the link to an article looking at the multisectoral components of the project.

This article explores the integration aspects of the project.

The rationale, model and implementation of the project is explored in this article.

The baseline methodology is discussed here.

Intersectoral Coordination and Alignment are addressed in this paper.

This paper discusses the importance of gender in agriculture for nutrition.

 A selection of other publicaitons are available below.

Download a copy of this resource

The harvest of a Smallholder Model Farmer in the RAIN project, Zambia taken in 2014. Photograph by: Gareth Bentley/Concern Worldwide.

Evidence from the RAIN Model

These documents capture the aims, processes and impacts of the Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN) project in Zambia.