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  • Blog
  • 18 May 2018

The latest trends in UK aid spending on nutrition

This data blog analyses the latest spending trends by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in regards to aid spending in nutrition.

Written by Jordan Beecher

Capacity & Capability Developer

This week we’ve published new analysis on the latest trends in the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID)’s spending on nutrition. This data blog highlights six notable trends, with headlines including that half of all nutrition spending goes to humanitarian interventions, while sub-Saharan Africa continues to receive the highest concentration of nutrition funding from DFID. We also look at how much of the DFID’s nutrition spending relates to advancing gender equality. Women are often more vulnerable to malnutrition, particularly around pregnancy and child rearing, with a mother’s nutrition having life-long consequences for newborns and infants.

Our analysis includes spending directly towards nutrition (‘nutrition-specific’) as well as projects that focus on other areas but build improving nutrition into their design, called ‘nutrition-sensitive’ spending. Both are equally important to include in understanding the UK’s role in supporting efforts to tackle malnutrition because nutrition-specific spending is not enough on its own to drive long-term meaningful change in the state of the world’s nutrition.

1. Nutrition-specific aid rose by 35% to a record US$111 million while nutrition-sensitive spending fell by 17% from the previous year


2. The number of supported nutrition projects has remained largely constant at 140 in 2016


3. Half of spending on nutrition is related to humanitarian interventions


4. Funding on nutrition continues to be largely concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa


5. A record number of countries are receiving nutrition-related funds, with Nigeria receiving the highest volume


6. In 2016, over half of spending commitments on nutrition related to advancing gender equality[1]

  • Of DFID’s nutrition-related commitments, 63% were marked as relevant to gender equality
  • A higher proportion of nutrition-specific (than sensitive) commitments targeted gender equality objectives:
    • 82% of nutrition-specific commitments were marked as relevant, compared with 58% of nutrition-sensitive commitments
    • 76% of nutrition-specific commitments had gender equality as a ‘significant’ policy objective, while 54% of nutrition-sensitive commitments did
    • 7% of nutrition-specific commitments had gender equality as a ‘principal policy objective’, compared with 4% of nutrition-sensitive commitments.

You can find more in-depth analysis to unpack and build on these highlighted trends in the full report on DFID’s aid spending on nutrition.

Image: Department for International Development


[1] Data on nutrition spending relating to gender equality is best for reported commitments, and so findings refer to DFID’s commitments for nutrition rather than actual spend. Note that ODA identified in this way is an estimate only.