by Chiti Gupta
with inputs from Sujaya Dangwar (Jharkhand), Bhagyashree Moholkar (Maharashtra) & Kasturi Samal (Odisha)
As per the Government of India directives, the entire month of September was to be dedicated as the ‘Rashtriya Poshan Maah’. This year the theme is Complimentary Feeding. WOTR has been promoting mother and child nutrition, kitchen gardens, growth monitoring of children since many years. These align with the objectives of #POSHANMaaH2020. In continuation with its work, in September 2020, WOTR conducted various trainings for women to be self-dependent and enhance nutrition security. Information was given on the problem of stunting, undernutrition, and the impact on child growth, as well as anemia (among young children, adolescent girls and women) so as to reduce low birth weight in infants. Various events were organized to share with rural community especially women about the importance of nutritious diets. During these, participants were trained in the preparation of homemade protein powder rich in minerals, vitamins, and proteins. To fulfill the immediate requirements of building immunity to fight COVID19, participants were provided with masks and medicines in this workshop. Proper physical distancing and wearing of the mask were ensured during the events.
WOTR has been carrying out various activities in support of Poshan Maah in states of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
In rural MP, under-nutrition is common amongst children belonging to scheduled castes and tribes, and mostly amongst children with illiterate mothers. The factor which contributes most to malnutrition among these children is poor diet, food insecurity, and unavailability of a balanced diet. Besides poor nutrition intake, the other important factor is inadequate preventive and curative health services and insufficient knowledge of adequate child care and feeding.
To address this gap, in 2016 WOTR has launched a “Child care and growth monitoring program” in the 5 districts (Anuppur, Chhindwara, Damoh, Mandla and Seoni) of MP keeping health and development of children of age 0-5 years at the priority. From March 2019 till September 2020, 3950 children are being benefitted under child growth monitoring program. Out of the 3950 children, 2552 children are in the Normal nutritional category; 1165 are in the 2nd degree of malnutrition; 233 are in the 3rd degree of malnutrition, of which 166 have been referred to the Nutrition Resource Centre (NRC). All 3950 are closely observed to ensure that their nutrition status improves or/ is maintained in normal category.
In September 2020 following activities were taken place to support Poshan Maah:
- 56 women and 12 men were trained with the help of flipchart named Surakshit Shishu Vikas about the importance of the Child development and the growth monitoring.
- 137 severely acute malnourished children and 152 pregnant mothers were provided with protein powder free of cost.
- SHGs of the project area were mobilized during month of September to focus on activities of Poshan Maah and help poor families of the area by providing them fresh vegetables and fruits grown in the kitchen garden developed by these SHGs itself.
- 1454 kitchen gardens have been developed in the project region of Madhya Pradesh to ensure securing nutritious vegetables and fruits to all resource poor households. 173 drip system have been installed to ensure supply of water for proper development of kitchen gardens. In month of September, guidance and support was provided to the beneficiaries for proper development of kitchen garden to ensure nutritional security.
WOTR has been conducting various nutrition related activities in its functional area in Jharkhand since 2016. The factor which contributes most to malnutrition is poor diet, nutrition insecurity, and unavailability of healthy meals. Under-nutrition is common amongst children belonging to scheduled tribes. Hence WOTR – Jharkhand capacitates the women of the project villages to adopt healthy and nutritious diets improving the health and nutrition of children from the womb and during childhood, so as to improve health and development of the brain of the new born. Kitchen gardens have been developed in 4 villages of Murhu blocks where 846 households are supported with proper guidance and inputs by WOTR staff. 160 families have been supported with drum kits to develop a nutritious and productive kitchen gardens.
Following below details provides the brief of the activities undertaken during Poshan Maah 2020 in Jharkhand:
- In month of September, in Jharkhand, WOTR conducted trainings and promoted kitchen gardens to address nutrition in its project area. The pregnant and breast feeding mothers were informed about the importance of health and nutrition; they were advised to consume extra protein and calcium to meet the needs of her growing little one.
- Six Food demonstration took place in village areas of Jharkhand where the women of the area were informed about the consumption of nutritious produce available in the village itself e.g. moringa, chakod leaf (local food of Jharkhand), papaya, dark green leafy, brinjal, pulses and chapatti. In this demonstration, around 35 to 40 women participated. With the help of these food demonstration, total of 85 women were reached out and educated about the nutrient benefits of locally produced varieties of food crops.
- In September, the WOTR-Jharkhand team identified 133 malnourished children in the project villages. 59 children were identified who have moved from malnourished category to healthy category. The parents of these children were provided one to one counselling by Wasundhara Sevikas of the region on how to maintain the proper height and weight of the children. 60 children who are undernourished are still under close monitoring. Wasundhara Sevikas are in touch with the parents of these 60 children and are providing them counselling on regular basis about the diet and ensuring that the children are fed well so as to make them move up to nourished category.
WOTR Odisha in its Gunupur cluster chalked out a plan to celebrate Poshan Maah with collaboration with officials of Integrated Child Development Scheme. A formal discussion and meeting was planned at block as well as village level with Child Development Program Officer (CDPO), Mrs. Karna Murmu & Supervisor of Integrated Child Development Scheme, Mrs. Mukta Lakra, ICDS- Gunupur block, GOVT of Odisha and other health workers of the area. A plan was made about the celebration and activities to be undertaken during Poshan Maah 2020. Activities like food demonstrations, awareness rallies, wall writings and plantations were carried out in project villages.
Following activities were undertaken by Orrisa team to Support Poshan Maah 2020:
- Food preparation demonstrations were conducted in seven villages of the project area, by WOTR Odisha in month of September. The participants were informed about the need for a healthy and nutritious diet. Recipes using locally available food produce were demonstrated in most of the villages during the celebration. Participants were given demonstration of recipes for making Khichdi, Parathas made up of drumstick and kulsa leaves, Ragi Kheer, Laddu made up of sesame seeds and groundnut.
- Plantation of papaya and drumstick was done in 4 Anganwadi Centres (AWC) in month of September in support of Poshan Maah. The seedlings required for plantation were collected by the local people on their own.
- Some quotes and slogans depicting the importance of consumption of nutritious and healthy diet were written on the walls by Wasundhara Sevak and Sevika during Poshan Maah.
- A healthy baby competition was organised at sector level during Poshan Maah. This activity was organised to encourage the mothers of the region about importance of exclusive breastfeeding practices, nutrient food practice and taking care of personal health hygiene.
- Child growth monitoring and promotion (CGM) activities is a part of thematic work of WOTR in Odisha, which has started since May 2020 and is continuing in every month. Around 48 severely acute malnourished children were identified out of 283 children assessed in the month of August. In month of September, special support was provided to identify malnourished children. Wasundhara sevikas of the areas conducted various counselling sessions of the parents of malnourished children guiding them on how to improve their child’s health. They encouraged the parents to provide nutritious food and balanced diet to their children for its proper growth and development.
- During the month of September, the local people were motivated to grow their own kitchen gardens with the help of technical support of WOTR Odisha team whereas the owners of already developed kitchen gardens were provided with the required support and help to make their kitchen garden flourish more and produce varieties of vegetables and fruits.
To understand the health and nutritional status of children from new-born to five years in the rural areas of Maharashtra, the WOTR Maharashtra team has taken up activities related to Child Growth Monitoring, making people aware about the nutritional status of their children on a regular basis over 10 years. To support Child Growth Activities, several other activities like training of Mahila Parivartaks to roll out these activities in the project region and disseminate information related to proper care of the child is done. Women of the area were also supported to grow kitchen garden so that availability of healthy and nutritious food can be made at home. The team is also involved in demonstrating different methodologies of preparing dishes high in micro and macro nutrients. During Poshan Maah 2020, the following activities were conducted to support the two core ideas of this year as directed by Government of India.
- In Maharashtra, total of 4988 children are identified in 111 villages for child care and growth monitoring. During Poshan Maah, the health of these children was assessed properly by measuring of weight, height and width of the arm. Proper counselling of parents whose child was found to be under nourished was done.
- In September, to support Poshan Maah 2020, food demonstrations were done in 111 villages. In the demo, the importance of a nutritious and healthy diet was highlighted as a part of the National Nutrition Month. Recipes of raw papaya halwa, soybean pakoda, moringa leaves vegetables, peanut laddu, sprouts bhel, asalbi laddu were demonstrated.
- Total of 207 multilayer kitchen gardens have been formed around the project region of WOTR, Maharashtra. In September, continuous training (theory, practical and demonstration) on know-how of developing kitchen garden through multilayer farming was given to women of the WOTR Maharashtra region.
WOTR Rajasthan team has supported development of 75 kitchen gardens in their project region. To celebrate Poshan Maah 2020, WOTR, Rajasthan team undertook promotion and development of kitchen gardens in the project villages. In month of September, the community resource person was trained and capacitated in such a way that they can further disseminate the knowledge of growing kitchen garden to the rural people. Women’s groups were being made aware about kitchen garden so that women can grow vegetables in their Badis throughout the year to meet the needs of their families. Presently, in COVID crisis where in buying vegetables from market may be a risky task as the chances of catching the virus increases in open crowded area, women were encouraged to grow their own kitchen garden so that supply of nutritious vegetables can be made possible throughout the year. With the development of kitchen garden, food and nutrition security can be ensured and occurrence of malnutrition in children aged between 0-5 can be reduced.
WOTR has always practiced mother and child nutrition, kitchen gardens, growth monitoring of children etc. thus aligning with the objectives of #POSHANMaaH2020 and successfully conducted activities & training across the states to achieve the same.