Creating platforms can help achieve multiple goals
An impact evaluation in Peru and another in Uganda show that there may be complementarities in schooling and nutrition investments. A pilot intervention in Cajamarca, Peru, provided iron supplements through a village clinic, with a randomly assigned classroom-based media program encouraging adolescents to take up the supplement. Students receiving the intervention were more likely to take up the supplement; the reductions in iron deficiency significantly improved school performance and increased anemic students’ aspirations. A cluster-randomized study in Uganda examined the impacts of implementing food-for-education (FFE) programs in an emergency setting. The study found that mild anemia prevalence in adolescent girls exposed to FFE program declined 20 percentage points relative to the control group. Both evaluations show that existing delivery platforms (rural health clinics, food for education programs) can be used to meet the twin goals of increasing investments in adolescent schooling and nutrition. Building on existing platforms could help other programs targeted to adolescents, such as those aiming to delay marriage, which are typically small community-based programs. If such programs could be integrated into health or schooling-based programs, they may be able to take advantage of complementarities in program delivery.