A German Initiative Helping Boost Nutrition And Health In Madhya Pradesh
Promoting nutrition at home. A kitchen garden in Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh. pic credit: welthungerhilfeindia.org
Emphasis on dietary diversity for women and children, encouraging kitchen gardens, improving access to subsidized food, training Anganwadi workers -- are among the many critical areas that a German initiative is working on in two Madhya Pradesh districts most affected by child malnutrition.
Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through its GIZ-Food and Nutrition Security and Enhanced Resilience Programme (FaNS), is working to improve nutrition and hygiene outcomes in the districts of Sheopur and Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh where maternal and child undernutrition are highly prevalent.
According to the National Family Health Survey-4, Madhya Pradesh has 42% of children under 5 stunted (low height for age) and 25.8% wasted, with the two districts showing high prevalence.
“The GIZ-FaNS initiative works towards improving the nutrition situation of women of reproductive age – between 15-49 years -- and small children – 6 months - 23 months in the two MP districts. It also provides technical support for computerisation of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in order to improve the efficiency of the food distribution system,” Dr. Archana Sarkar, Advisor, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, GIZ, said at a recent conference on Agri-Nutrition here.
“The project also focuses on the importance of a nutritious and diversified diet. Anganwadi workers train women on nutrition and hygiene practices and also to set up kitchen gardens to improve the availability of healthy food,” said Sarkar.
The GIZ-FaNS initiative, which began in 2015, is also working with the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in the two districts to improve the service, by providing data and helping with connectivity and transport, she said.
The German initiative is also focusing on homestead gardening in a big way by providing seeds and stressing on local vegetables. As part of its nutrition diversity initiative, GIZ-FaNS also provides nutrition recipes to the Anganwadi workers and nutrition workers, with focus on locally grown vegetables and tastes.
It is also focusing on community gardening, which would ensure pooling of resources and better outcomes, she said.
Over 7,000 kitchen gardens have been set up at the household level. The kitchen garden initiative has been replicated across the state as ‘Panchavati se Poshan’ (Nutrition Garden).
Along with its implementing partner Welthungerhilfe, a German NGO, and other partners, GIZ-FaNS has trained over 3,000 Anganwadi workers on four Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) modules as part of capacity building in nutrition, dietary diversity, pregnancy care and Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices.
After the first round of training they hold meetings with the trained Anganwadi and health workers on how to identify a malnourished child, and after the second round of training, they are trained on how to track progress of the child, said Sarkar.
GIZ-FaNS in collaboration with Department of Women and Child Development in Madhya Pradesh is working to improve the skills of Anganwadi workers and rural women health and nutrition workers through e-learning platforms.
To promote nutrition and dietary diversity, the GIZ-FaNS has identified local food cuisines. Each of its recipe shows the nutritive value in the local language and is available online at the Women and Child Development Department website. It has also devised a nutrition calendar that focuses on using locally available seasonal food.
Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ) FaNS initiative is part of the ‘One World - No Hunger’ project. It is active in 12 countries in Asia and Africa and promotes dietary diversity through imparting of knowledge and practices in hygiene, food and nutrition security.