ImpENSA – Improving Early Nutrition and Health in South Africa through Capacity Building

South Africa (SA) is challenged by coexistence of micronutrient deficiencies, undernutrition and obesity. The prevalence of this “triple burden of malnutrition” is very high. During the First 1000 Days of life from conception to toddlerhood, it induces stunting, childhood obesity and impairs brain development and immune function, with severe long-term effects for individuals and society.
Community initiatives addressing the First 1000 Days exist in SA, but major gaps exist in effective and efficient Continous Professional Development (CPD) programmes to provide healthcare professionals (HCPs) with the knowledge and skills to improve nutrition and lifestyle in early life. Capitalising on our FP7, Horizon 2020 and ERC research findings and scientific evidence, and based on an in-depth analysis of the existing training landscape and needs of SA HCPs, we will co-develop the content for knowledge and skills transfer.
Utilising our globally successful Early Nutrition eAcademy (ENeA) platform, we will co-create an interactive eLearning training course for integration and accreditation into SA CPD programmes. A blended pedagogical and scalable strategy, including face to face Training of Trainers, will equip HCPs to further train rural and urban community-based health workers and educate end users. We will use mixed methods assessment and evaluation to maximise quality and best practice. Sustainable translational application from research into education and in turn into business, will be achieved by jointly creating a sustainable social enterprise initiative in SA. ImpENSA will deliver innovative, marketable CPD of immediate societal relevance. It will build capacity at SA HEIs fostering their role as qualification providers and secure the foundations for the child’s later health through improving nutrition and lifestyle during the critical early lifecourse phase, with lasting benefits for the next generation.



Supported by BayFOR:

Research Focus:

  • Education / Skills / Capacity Building
  • Food / Nutrition
  • Medicine and Health


Germany (Bavaria), South Africa

Funding Agency:

European Union (EU)