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Improving Smallholder Poultry Production and Egg Consumption in Children Under Two in Ethiopia

  • Research Project Location: Ethiopia
  • Timeframe: December 2022 - April 2024
  • Funding: USAID

Principal Investigator (PI) and lead institution

Co-PI and collaborator institutions

  • Addis Ababa University
  • Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research
  • University of Gondar
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • North Carolina State University


Stunting and malnutrition continues to be prevalent in children under 5 years old in Ethiopia. Animal-source foods are the most impactful, high-quality nutrient-dense foods for children 6–23 months of age. Eggs provide critical nutrients similar to or exceeding other ASF, and in specific contexts, egg consumption has been demonstrated to lead to improved nutritional outcomes.

Poultry in Ethiopia is increasingly identified as a priority species. However, significant production constraints have been identified by Ethiopian poultry producers along the value chain, including infectious diseases such as Newcastle Disease Virus. The project has two overarching goals: a) to improve smallholder poultry production through reducing poultry mortality, and b) to increase egg consumption in children under two in poultry owning households in Ethiopia.

Project Objectives

Objectives of the project are to:

  • Assess the acceptability and feasibility of feeding eggs to children 6–23 months of age.
  • Determine the demand and preferences of poultry owners to improve poultry health and production.
  • Evaluate an integrated intervention program to improve poultry production and egg consumption in children under two.


Increased consumption of eggs would reduce stunting and benefit health, cognition and growth of children in Ethiopia. However, production challenges, including infectious diseases, currently constrain the growth of the poultry sector. Integrating a poultry health intervention program with a human nutrition intervention package can capitalize on these two issues and provide benefits to both poultry and human health.

Research Approach

An integrated intervention will be evaluated using a cluster-randomized controlled trial that aims both to improve poultry production, by reducing mortality through a poultry health intervention program including Newcastle Disease Virus vaccination, and to promote egg consumption in children under two using a Social and Behavior Change Communication intervention package. These interventions will be delivered by female ‘Chicken Champions’. This project will evaluate an integrated poultry health intervention and human nutrition Social and Behavior Change Communication package under normal smallholder system conditions, with existing flocks, and without the gifting of assets (poultry or eggs) to households.

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is part of Feed the Future

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This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Resilience and Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems.  Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation OPP#1175487.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.