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Helen Keller International and International Food Policy Research Institute Awarded CDN$15 Million for Enhanced Homestead Food Production in Africa

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NEW YORK, June 8, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Canadian government announced the signing of a CDN$15 million (US$14.75 million) grant today with Helen Keller International (HKI) to scale up its flagship Enhanced Homestead Food Production program in four countries in Africa south of the Sahara. This will build on HKI's partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to ensure cutting-edge impact evaluation and operations research.

Despite recent progress, malnutrition remains a global development challenge costing millions of children's lives and reduced educational and economic gains every year. Internationally there is increased understanding that the agriculture sector needs to play a larger role in improving nutrition.
Policymakers are becoming increasingly committed to leveraging agriculture to improve nutrition.

The Government of Canada is funding this important initiative with Helen Keller International, which will help families in Africa produce, consume and sell more nutritious food – ensuring healthier children at home and in their communities. Canada supports innovative approaches to improving nutrition through agricultural development and this program will greatly improve the lives of thousands of women and children. Minister Fantino announced the project during his participation at the Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science meeting in London, England on May 8, 2013.
Pioneered by HKI, the Enhanced Homestead Food Production program is an innovative, high-impact program that was profiled in IFPRI's landmark publication Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development (2009). HKI initiated Homestead Food Production in the Asia-Pacific region in 1988 and in recent years has prioritized bringing lessons learned from the Asia program to Africa. The approach in Africa includes promotion of orange-fleshed sweet potato — a vitamin A powerhouse that has been profiled on ABC World News.

The Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN), in which the Canadian government plays a key role, calls for implementation of nutrition-sensitive strategies across the agriculture sector. By supporting HKI and IFPRI to expand implementation and evaluation of Enhanced Homestead Food Production in vulnerable countries in Africa, the Canadian government makes major contributions to national and global movements to harness the power of agriculture to improve nutrition.

Founded in 1915, Helen Keller International's mission is to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. HKI combats the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health and nutrition. Visit www.hki.org for more information.



Photos accompanying this release are available at:

http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=19196

CONTACT: Heather Mangrum Helen Keller International hmangrum@hki.org 646-258-2470

Source:Helen Keller International