The NOURISH Evaluation: Can WASH and Nutrition Boost Kids’ Growth?

Editor’s Note: To better understand the possible benefits of improved water, sanitationhygiene and nutrition on reducing childhood stuntingUSAID is undertaking an impact evaluation in Cambodia as part of its anti-stunting intervention under the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, the NOURISH project. The evaluation’s principal investigator shares what is hoped to be learned from the Agency’s first randomized control trial for WASH programs. The author’s views are his own.

Children who reach their growth potential have enormous advantages. But, growth delays incurred early in life — typically in the first 1,000 days after conception, or by the child’s second birthday — are irreversible and associated with greater risk of disease, death or lower quality of life, including low educational achievement and reduced economic productivity. An estimated 26 percent of children globally are stunted, characterized as being two or more standard deviations from the WHO Child Growth Standards median, reflecting serious growth delays.

Reducing stunting is therefore a major health and development objective.

Read the full article in USAID's Global Waters magazine.