July 1, 2015

Healthy Food for a Healthy World: Promoting Nutrition through the Peace Corps

Flickr/Peace Corps

On April 16, The Chicago Council launched a new report, Healthy Food for a Healthy World: Leveraging Agriculture and Food to Improve Global Nutrition, at the Global Food Security Symposium 2015. Each week, we will highlight one of the report’s recommendations in a new post on the Global Food for Thought blog. This blog series explores how the strengths and ingenuity of the agriculture and food sector can reduce the reality and risks of malnutrition globally. Watch for a new post each Wednesday, and join the discussion using #GlobalAg

Peace Corps volunteers are valuable assets at the field level in development. They serve in “last mile” communities, working side-by-side with their local counterparts in health and agriculture extension services, train-the-trainer programs, and economic development programs. Providing nutrition training to these volunteers could help increase the nutrition sensitivity of their activities in agriculture, natural resources, health, and economic development. Furthermore, it is important to ensure that Peace Corps volunteers are provided opportunities to share their nutrition training with professionals and community members in the countries in which they are serving.

In Ghana, for example, Peace Corps volunteers established a school garden to improve diet diversity and nutrition for children in the community. Where students’ diets were previously made up of rice, maize porridge, beans, and cassava, the volunteers’ community garden added vegetables to the diets of 600 children.

Peace Corps volunteers are also well placed to promote changes in nutrition behaviors because they live and work so closely with the urban and rural communities where they serve. By incorporating social behavior change efforts into their sectoral activities, Peace Corps volunteers can encourage consumption of nutritious foods. For example, efforts to change social behavior can be incorporated into economic development projects to help channel increased incomes towards healthier foods for families.


The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


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