Nutritional deficiencies are a major contributor to lost productivity, impaired physical and mental development, susceptibility to various diseases, and premature deaths. Increasing dietary diversity is therefore an important strategy to improve development outcomes. This study investigates the impact of the Uganda Community Connector Project (UCCP) integrated nutrition, water-sanitation-hygiene (WaSH), rural credit and agriculture program on the dietary quality of smallholder farm households in Uganda. We use a longitudinal panel data set, generated using a cross-sectional Randomized Control Trial (RCT) study design that was implemented in six randomly selected districts in southwestern and northern Uganda to estimate a panel ordered logistic regression model, using demographic, socioeconomic, cultural and geographical factors as covariates, and dietary diversity score as a proxy measure of nutrition security. Households located in the UCCP sub-county showed a significant increased probability of attaining a more diverse diet. Location and key socio-demographic factors including livestock ownership were found to positively and significantly influence the dietary diversity of the household. Meanwhile, frequency of pregnancies of the caregiver negatively and significantly influenced diet diversity. The findings suggest that an integrated multi-sectoral approach to nutrition improvement (via diet quality) can be effective, particularly where pre-program socio-demographic, cultural and agro-climatic factors predispose successful outcomes. Beyond technical program interventions, an effective policy mix is also critical for successful improvement of dietary diversity of smallholder farmers.
Keywords: Dietary diversity, Nutrition, Agriculture, Water-sanitation-hygiene, Uganda, Panel ordered logistic regression