Suaahara II - Good Nutrition

Suaahara II is a five-year USAID-funded program (April 1, 2016-March 31, 2021), implemented via a partnership led by Helen Keller International and partners (CARE, Equal Access, Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO), FHI360, Vijaya Development Resource Center (VDRC), and Nepali Technical Assistance Group (NTAG). The main objective is to improve the nutritional status of 1000-days women and children, those in the period between conception and a child’s second birthday. A combination of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions will be implemented throughout 40 of Nepal’s 75 districts. The five main program areas are maternal and child nutrition; maternal, newborn, and child health services; family planning; water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); and agriculture/homestead food production (HFP). Furthermore, social and behavior change communication (SBCC) approaches adapted to each location, a focus on gender and social inclusion (GESI), and routine monitoring, evaluation, and research for learning and programmatic strengthening provide the basis for all Suaahara II interventions. Together, these elements are expected to improve nutritional well-being in rural Nepal. Suaahara II will continue to work in all VDCs in 38 of Suaahara I’s districts, but two new districts have also been added: Dhading and Panchthar. The estimated total target population of 1000-day women and children for Suaahara II is approximately 1.5 million. Suaahara II will also target indirect beneficiaries, such as mothers-in-law and husbands, who also play a critical role in maternal and child nutrition. In selected districts, Suaahara II will also work with adolescent girls to improve their understanding of nutrition, hygiene and reproductive health, and with adolescent boys to influence gender and other social norms. Disadvantaged households will continue to be prioritized for all interventions. To reach these different target groups, Suaahara II will build the capacity of frontline workers (FLWs) to promote behavior change and use of health services. Activities in 15 of these districts will be transitioned to government management in year three. Suaahara II will work closely with the Department of Health Services to plan a systematic, phased handover, based on mutually agreed criteria. Suaahara II and the Government of Nepal (GoN) work in collaboration for all activities. At the national level, Suaahara II supports line ministries to ensure nutrition-sensitive policies, guidelines, and materials, with consideration of GESI issues and to design and implement key programmatic inputs such as the episodes for Bhanchhin Aama, a weekly radio drama broadcast on 45 national and subnational radio stations. At the district level, Suaahara II works with GoN departments to plan and budget for nutrition, agriculture, health and WASH interventions and to generate support among key stakeholders for multi-sector nutrition programing. Suaahara’s largest footprint is at the village level where a cadre of around 600 field supervisors work with village development committees to train, jointly supervise and build the capacity of FLWs from Suaahara-related sectors. These FLWs are Suaahara’s primary modality for reaching target households.


Suaahara II has the following objectives: • To improve household nutrition and health behaviors. These behaviors include optimal maternal, infant and young child nutrition (MIYCN) practices; healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies (HTSP); and improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices. This will be achieved via an intensive approach to social and behavior change, including increasing the number of interpersonal contacts with each beneficiary and using formative research to hone more effective messages and define supporting actions. • Increase the use of quality nutrition and health services by women and children. This will be achieved through implementation of Nutrition Assessment Counseling and Support (NACS) by all health providers; improved quality and coverage of Community-Based Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illnesses (CB-IMNCI); fostering quality reproductive health services; better health management information system (HMIS) and strengthening outreach clinics to bring services closer to the community. • Improve women’s and children’s access to diverse and nutrient-rich foods. Suaahara II will work with communities to increase homestead food production of nutrient-dense plant and animal foods, and create resilience to nutrition shocks caused by climate change and natural disasters. Market linkages will be developed in collaboration with the KISAN and PAHAL3 projects to allow marginalized communities to generate income from surplus produce, coupled with promoting the use of income to improve food security and nutrition. Social behavior change strategies will support increasing women’s household decision making. • Accelerate the rollout of the Multi-sector Nutrition Plan (MSNP) through strengthened local governance. Suaahara II will work within existing government structures to define and strengthen a decentralized MSNP; improve coordination between sectors and MSNP stakeholders; and hand over nutrition services in 15 Suaahara districts to the government of Nepal (GON).

Additional information

Suaahara II recognizes that achieving results requires a holistic strategy that combines a multi-sector approach with attention to equity, gender, social inclusion, behavior change and good governance. Key project inputs and interventions will aim to catalyze shifts in capacity at household, community and systems levels across the project life, to achieve the project goal.

Cross-cutting issues

Capacity building, gender, sustainability


  • Nepal


  • Agriculture
  • Health
  • Water Sanitation and Hygiene