MANÁ Programa de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutricional de Antioquia, Colombia

Case Studies
Agriculture, Food Security, Nutrition
MANÁ and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
MANÁ and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Latin America & Caribbean
Publication Dates:
September, 2013
Content Formats:

This is one of 50 Harvesting Nutrition project case studies. Harvesting Nutrition was a contest held in 2012 and 2013 that showcased active projects working to improve the impact of agriculture and/or food security on nutrition outcomes. Co-sponsors were SecureNutrition, Save the Children UK, and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Learn More.

Project Description: ​

The main objective of MANÁ is to improve the food and nutrition situation by improving availability and access to food and by providing health and nutrition services to the most vulnerable population of Antioquia. This is done by means of an integral strategy of social organization and participation implemented in the 125 municipalities of the Department, developing a model executed by projects such as food complementation, nutritional recovery, nutritional vigilance, agricultural development, public policies and education in food and nutrition security.

MANÁ is intended to maintain the mortality rate due to malnutrition in children under 5 years old to 1.4 (per 100,000), reduce the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in children under 5 years old from 12.2% to 11%, reduce the prevalence of acute malnutrition in children under 5 years old from 2.5% to 2%, and reduce the percentages of homes with food insecurity from 56.9% to 50%. 

Between 2012 and 2015, the expected number of beneficiaries is:

  • Food complementation strategy: 350,000 children under 14 years old per year 
  • Nutritional recovery: 29,135 recovered children in 4 years 
  • Implementation of agricultural development strategy: 35,000 families in 4 years
  • 114 municipalities with a public policy on food and nutrition security
  • 2,358 schools with education in food and nutrition security
  • 125 municipalities under nutrition vigilance 

Impact of project: ​

The most significant impact of MANÁ has been the reduction of mortality rate due to malnutrition in children under 5 years. While in 2001, before MANÁ started, 149 children under 5 years old died in Antioquia due to causes related to malnutrition, during 2011 only 11 did. This has been done mainly through our Program of Nutritional Recovery. In 2000 we had only one Nutritional Recovery Center while nowadays we have 35, recovering more than 27,984 children up to 2011. In addition:

  • We reduced the prevalence of global malnutrition in children under 5 years old, from 8.3% in 2000 to 2.8% in 2010. This represents a 50% reduction.
  • We reduced acute malnutrition from 19.2% in 2000, to 10.2% in 2010.
  • We provided nutritional recovery to 24,017 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers up to 2011.
  • We increased the average of months of breastfeeding by developing educational actions in more than 40 institutions IAMI (Instituciones amigas de la Mujer y la Infancia).
  • We reduced the percentage of homes with food insecurity from 77% in 2005 to 43.8% in 2008.
  • Up to 2011 we had implemented more than 33,077 family gardens. We are planning to implement 35,000 more before 2015.
  • In 2007, 95 municipalities had a public policy on food and nutrition security.
  • We provide each year food complementation to 350,000 children under 14 years old.

Why this project is a Good Practice example: ​

MANÁ is a good example of maximizing the nutrition impact of agriculture and food interventions because it is implemented by an integral model with the following strategies:

  • Food complementation: It is developed through MANÁ Infantil, in which daily supplementary food (package of powder milk and portion of fortified crackers) is given to children under 6 years old, and MANÁ Escolar, in which daily supplementary food (breakfast) is given to students between 6 and 14 years old registered in public schools.
  • Nutritional recovery: It is intended for children with acute and chronic malnutrition, by means of providing them with food supplementation. We have 35 Nutritional Recovery Centers.
  • Nutritional vigilance: It is executed by carrying out anthropometric studies, qualification, standardization and the identification of children under 14 years old at risk of malnutrition.  
  • Agricultural development: With the establishment of productive family gardens we generate food security for self-consumption in vulnerable families. This is linked to the support of small agricultural entrepreneurships and the creation of a food sourcing plan for Antioquia.
  • Public policies and education in food security and nutrition: With the promotion of public policies in food and nutrition and classroom projects in food and nutrition, we promote education in adequate feeding habits and healthy lifestyles.

In addition to this integral strategy, MANÁ it is implemented with the active participation of the governments of the municipalities and the communities, hence developing programs that work on an articulated, integrated and transversal basis with promotion, prevention, overcoming, mitigation, education and social work actions. 

Impact Evaluation:

Impact evaluation in progress

Lessons Learned: ​

In 2002, Antioquia saw the importance of solving the needs related to hunger and malnutrition. Hence, it summoned not only the institutions, whose objective it was to implement food complementation and nutrition plans, but also academic institutions and various governmental organizations, in order to create an interdisciplinary work team whose main goal was to analyze the situation, identify the problems, their causes and possible solutions. After months of deliberation, the work team came up with actions to be developed as an integral strategy in order to face the problems of hunger and malnutrition in Antioquia. The beneficiaries were also involved in identifying the main necessities, through numerous workshops and awareness campaigns. Since 2003, MANÁ has been the public policy for food and nutrition security in Antioquia.

Therefore, we can conclude that the following are the main lessons learned during the design and implementation of our intervention:

  • In the design of the project, it was necessary the participation of academic institutions, public organizations and NGOs.
  • The fact that is considered a public policy guarantees the institutional and political sustainability of the Program.
  • The participation of the 125 municipalities and the community during the design and implementation is very important.
  • We have other types of challenges that we might have to overcome such as low participation rates of families in the municipalities, lack of support from governmental officials of the municipalities, raining season and long droughts (for the family gardens strategy), the armed conflict situation that would not permit the access to rural zones, and other similar interventions in the region.

Funders: Public

Primary Contact: Paula Escobar, Consultant of International Cooperation

Country: Colombia

Project Dates: September 2002 to present

Interventions: Incorporate explicit nutrition objectives and indicators, Assess the context at the local level, Target the vulnerable and improve equity, Collaborate and coordinate with other sectors, Facilitate production diversification, Expand markets and market access for vulnerable groups, Incorporate nutrition promotion and education,

Target Population: Rural households, Children under 14,

Project Stage: Ongoing activities Geographic Coverage: State/Province