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Malnutrition Through Constructivism: How International Organizations Succeed in Sustaining Nutrition

Abstract International organizations (IOs) such as the United Nations Children’s Fund have immense power in influencing state agenda and policies in issues in health such as advocating micronutrient interventions in developing countries. Scholarly literature classifies IOs as “norm entrepreneurs” who can alter state behavior through many forms of rhetoric. The theoretical model, constructivism, notes that IOs are autonomous actors in their decision-making who use states as tools to pursue their own interests. Thus, how do these IOs succeed in sustaining malnutrition-related interventions and programs in Kenya? In this thesis, I argue that IOs can effectively improve malnutrition outcomes by improving the allocation and accessibility of nutritional resources and services, setting an institutional framework for implementing and sustaining programs at hand, and fostering the operation of tools that will assist interventions to scale-up to national nutrition policies. To accomplish this, specific IOs possess external effects such as political will, strong funding, and a multi-sectoral nutrition approach, and multilateral IOs have internal factors such as authority, autonomy, and are able to find opportunities in uncertain situations. I also argue that IOs presented in this paper have made limited strides in reducing aggregate malnutrition rates of stunting, wasting and underweight in Kenya. I ground my analysis on constructivism to understand IO behavior towards malnutrition interventions for children under five in Kenya.

Recommended Citation Ali, Elham, "Malnutrition Through Constructivism: How International Organizations Succeed in Sustaining Nutrition Interventions in Kenya" (2015). CMC Senior Theses. 1201.