Bridging the Gap: Engaging Adolescents for Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Development


A study by the World Food Programme and Anthrologica

Adolescence is a significant time of growth and development, laying down many of the foundations for adult life. Yet, for governments and development organizations, supporting young people through this period is complex.

Photo: Anthrologica

Adolescent girls in particular are increasingly recognized as a key group for nutrition interventions — both in their own right and as key actors in breaking the cycle of malnutrition. Yet large data gaps remain which hinder the global community in designing effective interventions to improve the nutrition of this key group and there is poor understanding of effective ways to reach adolescents in general.

With this in mind, the World Food Programme and Anthrologica began to address this gap by carrying out a study to better understand adolescents (both boys and girls) in Kenya, Uganda, Guatemala, and Cambodia.

The study aimed to assess the experiences, needs and priorities of adolescents in terms of nutrition, understand how adolescents prefer to engage (and be engaged with) in each context, and establish a basis for more adolescent-friendly nutrition programmes.

Adolescents play a key role in their families’ health and nutrition. They often have significant influence over a household’s diet, buying and preparing food, cultivating the family land, and contributing financial resources. They therefore can be agents of change to improve the health and nutrition of their families, peers and communities.

We hope the insights and recommendations offered through the pages of Bridging the Gap will be used to design more effective programmes, not just for adolescents themselves, but for the wider community.