In many parts of the world, hunger is the only reality people know. World Vision India believes a hunger free world is possible. There are lakhs of children living in our country who are malnourished resulting in low immunity and lifetime growth impairment.
So what does World Vision India do to eliminate hunger and prevent malnutrition in the communities we serve? There are various interventions and programmes that exclusively address these issues and have been successful in helping children live a healthy life too.
World Vision India focuses on reducing childhood illness and malnutrition through programmes that help communities understand appropriate dietary intake, exclusive breast feeding, complementary feeding, immunization, sanitation and hygiene. We want all children to enjoy good health, be well-nourished, protected from infection and diseases and have access to essential health services
The biggest underlying cause of malnutrition is poverty and therefore to help families provide adequately for their children we assist them with various income generation programmes like kitchen garden, milch animals, petty shop, poultry farming, dairy-based livelihood, skill training and other forms of livelihood assistance. We’d like to elaborate on a few for you.
A kitchen garden gives families with malnourished children easy access to fresh green vegetables and promotes healthy eating habits.
With the kitchen garden, Kalyan’s children are no longer undernourished. After consumption, the extra vegetables left are sold in the local market, becoming an additional source of income for the family. Havind, 3 years old, also attended the UMANG(Urgent Management and Action for Nutritional Growth) programme and is no longer malnourished.
“We didn’t know much about malnutrition and how it adversely affects the growth of the children. The effects of malnutrition and the need to have healthy eating habits was explained in the UMANG programme. Now there is a glow on our children’s faces,” says Mamta, Kalyan’s wife.
Due to lack of a steady income, Nirmala was unable to provide nutritious food for her children. “My son, Shubham was very weak due to lack of nutritious food. He had joint pains so I took him to the doctor who said the joint pain was a sign of polio”, says Nirmala. As part of World Vision India’s economic development assistance programme, Nirmala received a cow. The economic condition of the household is gradually starting to improve.
“Most of the milk is sold but some of it I keep aside for my children. Shubham’s bones are getting stronger,” says Nirmala. She is slowly trying get up on her feet and run the household with the income brought by selling the milk produced by the cow.
Poly houses were provided to Self Help Groups for community farming. In poly houses farmers are able to grow off season vegetables, and can also prepare nurseries of the vegetables and other crops. Vegetables are protected from harsh weather conditions and wild animals. Less water is required for irrigating plants. The Quality and quantity increases and gives more profit to the farmers. The women don’t have to go far for work and spend more time taking care of their household and children. The poly houses gives access to more green vegetables and healthy food to children.
In keeping with the need for multi-dimensional approaches to combat malnutrition, World Vision India conceived and developed a nutrition-specific intervention for underweight children across the country for a period of 90 days. Through this community based feeding programme children receive one meal and snack meeting 600k calories, 25 grams of protein and 400 micrograms of Vitamin A requirements of children.
Time and Targeted Counseling (TTC)
The Time and Targeted Counseling (TTC) helps expectant mothers learn more about pregnancy and how to care for herself and the child during pregnancy. The TTC programme aims at providing counseling to mothers both before and after birth. Infant mortality rate has fallen drastically in communities due to World Vision initiatives such as this.
Partnering with the government
Accredited Social Health Activists(ASHAs), a community of health workers instituted by the government of India also help us in our efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition. ASHAs are motivated and trained by World Vision India regularly. They have helped counsel and motivate women to bring their children who are malnourished to the Malnutrition Treatment Centre (MTC) strengthened by World Vision India where they learn about nutrition supplements and birth spacing.
A hunger free India is possible. Hunger doesn’t have to be anyone’s reality – we can end hunger once and for all. Together, we can build a hunger-free world – one community at a time.