The Nutrition in City Ecosystems (NICE) project aims to increase long-term access and demand to nutritious foods produced via local and agro-ecological systems in low- and middle-income countries. Through every step, the project will focus on promoting women and youth leadership.
Sight and Life is a member of a new, one-of-a-kind Swiss consortium alongside the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), ETH Zürich (The Sustainable Agroecosystem Group, The Sustainable Food Processing Group and The World Food System Center) and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) and supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Together, this partnership will implement the NICE project, working across the agricultural, health and education sectors in order to improve urban diets in low- and middle-income countries. NICE promotes women and youth leadership and places a strong emphasis on public-private engagement and income generation.
The world currently faces a major malnutrition crisis, with rapid urbanization shifting the impact from rural to city populations. This project focuses on secondary cities, not just national capitals, as they play a central role in the transformation of food systems. In addition to bringing different sectors together, city authorities can champion the engagement of women and youth in the production, selling, preparation and promotion of healthy foods and in facilitating access to the most vulnerable city populations.
NICE will work in six “front-runner” secondary cities based in Kenya, Rwanda and Bangladesh alongside all relevant local stakeholders and global stakeholders supportive of resilient urban food systems, in the pursuit of “nutrition vital cities”. With improved policies and advocacy for healthy diets, combined with an enabling environment for farmers (peri-urban) and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), local municipalities will sustainably link different systems for the well-being of their inhabitants.
Locally led city launches took place between September and October 2021 in Bungoma and Busia in Kenya, followed by launches in the Rwandan cities of Rubavu and Rusizi, and in Dinajpur and Rangpur in Bangladesh. The Swiss partners will work closely with city authorities, local businesses, markets and civil society to create healthier urban food systems. The front-runner cities will also have the opportunity to exchange with cities like Geneva, Lausanne, Basel and Zürich, which are innovating to confront food systems challenges in Switzerland.
At Sight and Life, we are taking the lead on the implementation science of all demand generation activities in the three countries, applying our expertise as a global nutrition think tank which delivers science-based solutions to vulnerable populations.
Furthermore, we act as the project coordinator for all NICE project activities in Rwanda. Our experience in translating nutrition science, fostering public private partnerships for improved nutrition and use of consumer insights to develop viable social business models are central to our current and future contributions in these roles.
“SDC believes that cities play a key role in food systems transformation towards a more sustainable consumption and production, addressing malnutrition of vulnerable people while transforming their local food systems to be more resilient.” says Carmen Thönnissen, Co-Lead Global Programme Food Security, SDC. “Switzerland contributes to NICE as we believe the project will be a way to support the implementation of the Committee on World Food Security Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems for Nutrition. We also hope that insights gained from NICE will be shared with the UN Food System Summit’s Coalition “Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems” supported by Switzerland.”
Review our consortium website to stay updated on the latest NICE project ongoings: https://nice-nutrition.ch. Also keep an eye on our global-level NICE communications via the hashtags #NICEproject, #NICErwanda, #NICEbangladesh, and #NICEkenya.