Hollow cheeks, a vacant stare, listless limbs…all of these and more are signs of malnourishment in a child. All over the country, scores of districts and villages in the rural hinterland of the country abound with children who do not receive even two square meals a day, let alone their fair share of daily nutrition. It is a grim reality of our times that India has millions of poverty-ridden homes with no access to healthy food or even the raw materials to create nutritious meals…if children are the future, what future will our children have without daily food?
But there are glimmers of hope. World Vision has been able to identify and to a large extent, correct the anomalies that deprive children of their basic right to nutrition. Instead of waiting for Governmental intervention to set every wrong right, World Vision seeks to take corrective action using the simplest tools at its disposal: educating the parents and making resources available.
The story of 5-year-old Sabikum and his older brother Gali traced a similar trajectory as thousands of other malnourished children’s a few months ago. His parents, Hasan and Sairah, are farmers. Unschooled and not abreast with the latest in farming techniques, Hasan’s crops often failed. Naturally, this resulted in severe penury and a pronounced lack of food to feed the household. Cobbling together the money to buy a bagful of vegetables was a Herculean task. The adults suffered from lack of food, but the children suffered more. There seemed no way to break the vicious cycle of poverty-induced malnutrition.
But World Vision’s pioneering effort in the region of farmer education with its Farmers’ Schooling programme has made a world of difference to Hasan and his family. The programme is taught in association with the Agricultural department of the region where the farmer stays, and imparts education on effective farming techniques, soil and crop management and healthy eating habits. Using the knowledge gleaned during these lessons, Hasan and Sairah were able to affect a turnaround in their farm. With the crops yielding money, Hasan later purchased hens and ducks, causing an additional revenue and food stream for the family. “Today, we have vegetables from the field, eggs from the poultry and also meat. My sons’ health has improved with the food we are able to provide. They attend school regularly. We are doing our best to provide for them – we will never let their lives become like ours,” beams the proud father.
How World Vision tackles the problem of malnutrition
World Vision India’s response to the gravity of malnutrition in the country’s most deprived locations is a multi-pronged strategy that encompasses the spread of awareness, education using the right tools, community outreach and making resources available to the needy. This approach encapsulates:
Sunita Sakharam and Sunil Sakharam Belsare excited to taste the Kheer (rice pudding). Kheer is a big hit among the children and is frequently consumed in households of Badnapur and Solamoh. Sunita Sakharam was in the category of moderately malnourished, Grade 2. But now with the introduction of awareness drives and health conscious cooking, she has sailed out of her malnutrition state and is of normal weight for her age. The Self-Help-Groups of Badnapur and Solamoh came up with a creative and innovative recipe that was easy to make, utilised locally available ingredients that had high nutritional value, to be showcased at the Nutrition Exhibition, a World Vision India initiative. With innovative community inclusive ideas and initiatives such as food exhibitions the World Vision India team of Melghat is working tirelessly towards making Malnutrition history in the Melghat region. Summary: In an area where Malnutrition claims lives of children a new endeavour initiated by World Vision India is making sure that this problem is nipped in the bud, by raising local chefs who are preparing scrumptious holistic healthy food for children. Just by tweaking the eating habits of the villagers, the area has witnessed a visible improvement in the health of many children. Location: Solamoh, Melghat ADP, India Asia[/caption]UMANG – Urgent Management and Action for Nutritional Growth
It is an emergency community-managed feeding programme in 18 States through the AnganwadiCenter for all malnourished children, including children below 2 years.
A Positive Deviance Inquire (PDI) identifies the good health and nutrition practices in local families where children are well-nourished. These practices centre on identifying local foods to improve the nutrient density, proactive child feeding techniques, and/or hygiene practices. These feeding practices are then taught to caregivers of underweight children in an intensive 12-day behaviour change programme.
TIMED & TARGETTED COUNSELLING
A behaviour change approach, TTC targets a cohort of pregnant women and young children less than 24 months old using a curriculum of health and nutrition messages. The approach addresses integrated health and nutrition needs of the target groups, barriers and negotiation agreement with households.
Rightly recognising that mothers are the strongest cog in the family machinery, we shape girls’ and women’s access to education that helps families move from income generation to asset creation.
CITIZENS’ VOICE AND ACTION
CVA is a tool to empower communities, influence quality, efficiency and accountability with which services are provided at the local level. Our staff, partners and communities are trained in CVA to improve the access to and functioning of health and nutrition facilities.
CHILD HEALTH NOW CAMPAIGN
Child Health Now (CHN) is World Vision’s global advocacy campaign to reduce preventable deaths of children under five. In India, CHN works with CSOs and Government authorities in seven low HDI States to improve maternal and child health.
PARTNERING WITH GOVERNMENT
We strengthen the quality of the ICDS services, equip the communities, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and Anganwadi Workers (AWW) to access Nutrition Rehabilitation centres wherever available.