Nepal: Reducing Child Malnutrition through Social Protection

Sovereign Project | 43103-012 Status: Approved


The development objective of the project is to create capacity within the Government of Nepal to plan and execute social protection programs and projects for more inclusive and equitable social outcomes.

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Project Name Reducing Child Malnutrition through Social Protection
Project Number 43103-012
Country Nepal
Project Status Approved
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 9157-NEP: Reducing Child Malnutrition through Social Protection
Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction US$ 1.60 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Health - Social protection initiatives

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Some gender elements
Description The development objective of the project is to create capacity within the Government of Nepal to plan and execute social protection programs and projects for more inclusive and equitable social outcomes.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

ADB's Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Nepal (2005 ? 2009) rests on three pillars of which fostering inclusive social development is one. The three sub-sectors prioritized under this pillar are (i) education, (ii) water supply, sanitation and urban development, and (iii) social protection. While the strategy emphasizes on building social protection initiatives within the project design, it also identified the need to build capacity in social protection institutions in Nepal. The CPS is in line with ADB's Strategy 2020, which places emphasis on promoting greater access to opportunities by expanding human capacities through investments in education, health and basic social protections; as well as with the government's development strategy which has been increasingly expressing its deep commitment to social justice and equity and is striving to expand its safety net and social protection coverage. Nepal has had in place an old-age pension scheme and benefits to widows and the disabled since 1994. Since the current fiscal year, the government has expanded this coverage by lowering the age limit and expanding its cash-transfer scheme to certain caste/ethnic groups. The allowance has also been increased.

However, there are no child centered cash-transfer schemes at the moment despite strong evidence that child protection measures can have significant impacts on the health of children and their consequent contribution to society. Many studies on early child brain development, including a study done by ADB shows that child development is at the core of human development theory and that the most critical period of brain development is in the first three years of life, proper nutrition being a critical factor in healthy brain development. It is estimated that more than half of Nepal's under-five children are stunted for their age, and despite significant decrease in infant mortality rates, over 40,000 under-one children are still dying in Nepal every year. A study conducted in 1999 revealed that of the 95,000 under-five child deaths in Nepal every year, about 54% were attributed to moderate and severe malnutrition, with the "moderates" responsible for most of the deaths. It has been proven that mental stunting resulting from malnutrition is irreversible and the World Bank estimated in 2007 that malnutrition in children in Nepal causes a GDP loss of around 3% per year. Thus, studies have shown that the highest human capital rates of return can be achieved from social protection targeting pre-school children. Confounding to these problems is a recent food alert by the World Food Programme in Nepal, warning of an impending food shortage, particularly in the mid- and far-western hills of Nepal due to low winter precipitation. Undoubtedly, children would be impacted the most.

In 2008 UNICEF and WFP conducted an exploratory survey to see how child benefit cash transfers would be used by households. The study revealed that more than 40% of the money from cash transfers to mothers would be spent on supplementary food for children, around 30% on children's education and 11% or more on health care. Evidence from another ADB project also demonstrated that women who were provided cash transfers did have control over the money, and most of the allowance provided to cover "basic needs" was spent on food, house maintenance, medicine, education, clothing and household supplies, in that order of priority. Thus, the justification to provide a monthly cash allowance and its direct relevance to poverty reduction is more than evident for this project.

Impact Reduction in child malnutrition in the project districts
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Enhanced execution of social protection programs
Progress Toward Outcome --
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Enhanced capacity of local bodies in the project districts to deliver the child grant

Enhanced capacity of the government to design efficient and evidence-based social protection programs

Enhanced networking between local bodies, health facilities, and communities in the project districts for improving child nutrition

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

-A management information system has been developed at the Department of Civil Registration, which is responsible for coordinating the government's five major cash transfers. The MIS works as a central digital registry of cash transfer beneficiaries. The Project supported the Deparment to input beneficiary information from five districts: Humla, Mugu, Jumla, Dolpa, and Kalikot.

-1,169 female community health volunteers and 436 health facility staff have been trained on infant and young child feeding, which seeks to orient beneficiaries on utilizing the child grant on children's nutrition.

- The project is also supporting several studies to assess the impact of the child grant on children's nutrition. In this regard, a mid-line survey was completed in 2013 and an end-line survey will be completed in 2015. The data collected can be compared witht he baseline survey carried out in 2010 to assess the impact of the government's child grant.

- The Project is also supporting the development of a national framework for social protection, which is expected to be endorsed by the government within 2015.

Geographical Location Karnali Zone (Mid-Western Development Region)
Safeguard Categories
Environment C
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples B
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects No adverse environmental impacts are anticipated as a result of project implementation.
Involuntary Resettlement The project will not cause any involuntary resettlement.
Indigenous Peoples The project will pay special attention to ensuring that the delivery systems will reach the indigenous and excluded groups.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design A fact finding mission was fielded intermittently from 21 October 2009 to 18 April 2010. The mission undertook a field visit to one of the Karnali districts (Dolpa) from 23 October 2009 to 5 November 2009 to assess the ground realities of implementing cash grants in the remote mountain districts of Nepal. A workshop was organized in Kathmandu on 11 December 2009 to debrief central government officials on the mission's field visit and to brainstorm on the ideas that had been proposed by the DDC staff and local villagers in Dolpa. Consultations were also held with development partners.
During Project Implementation

- Inception mission (18 May - 04 July 2011)

- Review mission (12 - 17 December 2011)

- Special project administration mission (6 - 9 August 2012)

- Midterm review mission (1 - 5 April 2013)

- Review mission (7 - 19 July 2014)

Business Opportunities
Consulting Services

International Social Protection Specialist - 5 person-months

National Social Protection Specialist - 36 person-months

Procurement Purchase of Computer equipment.
Responsible ADB Officer Arun Rana
Responsible ADB Department South Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Nepal Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Federal Affair and Local Development
Singha Durbar
Concept Clearance 12 Aug 2008
Fact Finding 24 Oct 2009 to 18 Apr 2010
Approval 28 Feb 2011
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 02 Sep 2009
Last PDS Update 14 Sep 2015

Grant 9157-NEP

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
28 Feb 2011 08 Jun 2011 08 Jun 2011 08 Jun 2014 15 Jan 2016 -
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 5.77 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 0.00 28 Feb 2011 0.00 1.45 91%
Counterpart 4.17 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 1.60 28 Feb 2011 0.00 1.55 97%

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