The Role Of Nutrition And Social Capital

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This essay interweaves the approaches of development proposed by the speakers’ presentations and discussions held during the seminars of Perspectives in International Development throughout the Fall Semester 2015. The common thread among the different approaches would be the role that building human and social capital may play in achieving the goal of development. The essay considers nutrition as a form of physical human capital, and a precondition for developing other dimensions of human capital. It also explores the connections between nutrition and development, and how agriculture and food security are essential to improve the nutrition conditions of the poor. The essay concludes with a clear example of a simple and at the same time…show more content…
Although I don’t believe that human needs are organized in a hierarchical structure as proposed by Abraham Maslow, I do believe that health and nutrition are in many ways a precondition for the expansion of physical, cognitive, and emotional capabilities required to build human capital. Nutrition during the 1000 days after conception is critical for both physical and cognitive development, including locomotor skills, spatial navigation and memory formation, the speed at which signals are transmitted, and the ability to handle stressful situations (Hoddinott et al, 2013). Therefore, nutrition is a key requirement for development to…show more content…
Making food available to the poor and providing them with the mechanisms to obtain it is also critical. It is here that food security plays an important role for development. According to the World Health Organization (2015), food security exists when “all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. The three pillars of food security are food availability, food access, and food use. It is clear that food security is critical to build human capital and generate well-being. Policy decisions and institutions are crucial for establishing the links between agriculture, food security, and nutrition to set the conditions to generate inclusive development. A policy that interweaves these three areas may be complex (i.e. consisting of many different and connected strategies), but not necessarily complicated. Simple interventions may lead to big changes. In this sense, Bezner Kerr et al (2011) project Agroecology, Social Equity, and Food Security represents a great example of how complexity and simplicity can work together to design effective interventions to empower people and increase their opportunities. In their project, Bezner Kerr et al (2011) trained farmers on how to apply affordable ways to improve soil fertility and food security through the use of legume residues. As a consequence, families have been able to improve food
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