BRAC arranges knowledge sharing event with stakeholders

September 22, 2016
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Government representative acknowledges importance of link between research and policymaking – a good day for research uptake!

Government representative acknowledges importance of link between research and policymaking – a good day for research uptake!

It was a rainy morning in Dhaka. Perfect for a lively discussion over a hot cup of tea. BRAC arranged a research dissemination seminar on 14 June. The main objective was to gather policymakers, development practitioners, academicians and researchers and share the findings of some of the research works done in agriculture and nutrition in Bangladesh undertaken by BRAC and IFPRI.

With the conceptual shift of the nutrition discourse in Bangladesh where the new emphasis now lies more on enhancing fisheries and livestock than the previous focus mainly on production of agricultural crops, the secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock was invited to be the chief guest of the event. BRAC-LANSA seeks to foster a sustainable impact on policies in Bangladesh by establishing a strong linkage between agriculture and nutrition. And this dissemination seminar acted as an interactive avenue to serve that purpose. This is the second large-scale stakeholder event in Bangladesh. The first one was arranged in 2014[1] where stakeholders were updated on research plans under LANSA, followed by a call for proposal. This event was, however, more focused on bridging the gap between research and policy making.

The seminar started with a welcome speech by Research and Evaluation Department director Dr. Bayes and was chaired by the executive director of BRAC, Dr. Md Musa. There were six presentations by – Dr. Mahabub Hossain on agriculture and diet diversity, Dr. Akhter Ahmed on promoting agriculture for better nutrition and women’s empowerment, Dr. Firdousi Naher on the role of agriculture and health policies on the status of nutrition in Bangladesh, Dr. Sirajul Islam on value chain in Bangladesh, Dr. Masuda Mohsena on impact of unfavourable environment on maternal and child nutrition, Barnali Chakrabarty on farming systems for improved nutrition. There were two open discussion sessions where the audience posed questions and shared comments on the key points of the presentations.

Dr Hossain’s presentation posed some not-so-ventured facts and revealed that in Bangladesh, the nutrition issue tends to be addressed through its proximal or underlying determinants such as dietary intake, feeding practices, health status and so on. The role of broader determinants such as agriculture – that determines the composition of the diet and wider economic factors and socio-economic characteristics of households – and other non-food environments are relatively neglected. Dr, Ahmed highlighted the connection between agriculture and nutrition and women’s empowerment. IFPRI has started collaborative work involving quite a few departments of the government, especially the Ministry of Agriculture.

Throughout the event, it was evident that participants and discussants were engaged and curious about the research works. The chief guest said that this event definitely brought policy makers and researchers together and the gap between the two is shortened. She encouraged the researchers to keep on reaching out to policy makers with relevant research findings, however, with the fact in mind that the policy makers have to operate within limited resource and other constraints.

Overall, this knowledge sharing platform was another step forward in addressing the challenges of malnutrition in Bangladesh by building a direct connection between researchers and policymakers. This BRAC-LANSA event was published in six Bengali[2] and English[3] newspapers and an op-ed was also published in a renowned English daily[4]. The event was also covered by electronic media and a radio channel.

[1] http://lansasouthasia.org/blog/brac-engages-key-stakeholders-and-fosters-knowledge-sharing

[2] Nutrition safety impossible without agriculture and women development: speakers at BRAC seminar

http://www.jugantor.com/second-edition/2015/06/15/279232

http://www.bonikbarta.com/2015-06-15/news/details/39940.html

http://www.kalerkantho.com/print-edition/news/2015/06/15/233671

http://thedailysangbad.com/country/2015/06/15/12768

http://www.samakal.net/2015/06/15/143357/print

[3] http://www.emediadesk.net/Clip.aspx?NewsID=803988

[4] http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/2015/06/17/96877