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The objective of this session is to explore policy links being made between what are widely regarded as female domains of subsistence farming, household food security, nutrition and health, and to suggest strategies for moving information beyond research into programmes that will result in improvements in nutrition and health needs. These strategies may extend from programmes that directly deliver nutrition and health messages to populations in need, to programmes that fill information gaps.

Over the past four decades women have moved from being at the margins of national policies in various domains to being placed centrally in a range of natural resources but also social policies. Women are now seen as the solution to problems of poverty, natural resource degradation, climate change, food insecurity and poor nutrition. At the same time, there is widespread agreement that women have a limited resource base and limited control over decision-making for undertaking these tasks. Increasing women's decision-making at the household level, and resources over which they have access, are widely viewed as the means by which nutrition policy goals can be met. It is the link between what is referred to as subsistence farming for meeting food security needs at the household level, and women's reported caring nature, that supports the optimism around using women to achieve nutritional objectives.

Some of our questions for the session relate directly to the assumptions that underpin the strategies already being implemented. Others relate to desirable strategies that for us are both transformative for women, and support the nutritional needs of women and young children.

The additional challenge for this session is to take into account the multi-sectoral approach, including agencies involved in delivering sanitation, wider health care practices and social protection that is needed for achieving improved household nutrition. This raises issues around possible conflicting interests between multiple agency actors whose cooperation is essential for nutrition policy impact.