FMCH conducted a needs assessment in our communities in Jarimari, Kurla and Bhiwandi to understand the needs of the community and to cater to their needs so that we are able to hear from them their needs. Need assessment was done in these communities with the primary goal of identifying the persistent need of the community. Data was obtained by conducting telephonic interviews with FMCH beneficiaries.

Objectives of the Need Assessment:

• To understand the impact, mothers and their families are facing during the COVID-19 crisis
• To assess the need of the community and individual target groups (pregnant, lactating and mother of children) during and post the pandemic to overcome the changing and uncertain situations
Need Assessment questionnaire was designed to measure the discrepancy between current condition and required need of the community in order to plan appropriate intervention strategies as per the need of community.

Categories of question included:

1. Understanding the emotional shift during Lockdown
2. Knowledge of Community/respondent on COVID-19 infectious disease
3. Impact of Nutrition during the lockdown
4. Assess of the community to primary health services
5. Economic condition of the families
6. Expectations and need of the families during and post lockdown
7. Existing resources in terms of help that the families have access to

The results of this assessment showed most significant impact on food security and nutrition support followed by health and basic assistance required in primary health care and on the financial stability of the primary earning member of the family. Lack of employment has affected the purchasing power of essential goods and developed a state of fear and anxiety about financial stability in future. The Key finding of the assessment includes 64% families facing financial complication, 40% families stated an emotional shift towards stress and anxiety in house thereby affecting their mental health and 39% families have food insecurities which has led to major impact on health and nutrition. The most affected target groups in these communities are the pregnant mothers who have limited access to health services for their ante-natal check-ups and hospital delivery. Food and health services specifically to the pregnant mother are the most pressing needs of the community in the current situation.

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Lea Khandalavala: Internship Experience

Lockdown has forced us all to adapt to using technology more. People have slowly adapted to virtual volunteering and internships as well. Here is an experience from one of our externs from Denmark.

When I found out about the structure of my bachelor in Global Nutrition & Health: that we were required to take two internships, one of the first thoughts that came to mind was FMCH. I thought that FMCH would be just the right place to learn how to apply so many subjects I was learning and was interested in, and see how an organization helps so many people through nutrition. I had been interested in FMCH’s work for many years and thought they were doing some amazing work that I wanted to learn more about.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding lockdown in India, I was unable to come to Mumbai and then visit the FMCH office, the centres and anganwadis where so much work is done. However, I still gained so much from the experience of working with FMCH on the other side of the globe, in Denmark.

I was able to stay connected with the team at FMCH through google hangouts and WhatsApp calls, messages and emails. I read interviews about the field officers’ current experiences and got to understand more about how FMCH was working under the lockdown. My biggest learnings were in my internship were how to be creative regarding teaching ideas with limited resources and space and complementary feeding for babies specific to India and Indian cooking.

Though my experience interning at FMCH was not what I had expected back at the end of 2019, I still feel like I gained so much that I will take away for my future work and also just in my personal life. I feel lucky that I was able to do my internship from so far away and did not have to miss this experience because of the pandemic.

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Rashtriya Poshan Maah – Setting an Example of Convergence

FMCH, Government, Partner non profits and community members come together for one vision – Nutrition Awareness in Community

Poshan Abhiyaan launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister in 2018 is a massive program addressing the nutritional challenges of the country. Nutrition being one of the prime focus for the Hon’ble Prime Minister Poshan Saptah/Nutrition Week (1 – 7 September) was celebrated as Rashtra Poshan Maah/Nutrition Month throughout the country.  Smt. Maenaka Gandhi, the Minister of Women and Child Development urged the Ministers of partner Ministries and all the Members of Parliament to extend full support to Rashtriya Poshan Maah with outreach activities. Mobilization of communities being one of the main features of the program, FMCH too like other partner organisations participated in the Poshan Maah.  Several outreach activities like cooking competitions using local nutritious food sources, awareness talks, community meets, rallies etc. were planned. All the activities conducted on field received support from Department of Women and Child Development and Department of Health And Family Welfare. The government officials shared that the events were very impacting and promised to extend their maximum support in future events. The convergence was not limited just to government departments. Rashtriya Poshan Maah in Bhiwandi also received great support from international and national non-profits working in Bhiwandi like WHO and Sneha and also from community members. This support also resulted in a massive awareness march across Bhiwandi Nizampur.

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Creating a Warm Chain of Support for breastfeeding mothers –  International Breastfeeding Week update

World Breastfeeding Week went with a bang and kept our team at toes. The 7 days of World Breastfeeding week (1 – 7 August) have been very focussed and in line with the International theme of “Breastfeeding: Foundation for life”. The FMCH team participated with great enthusiasm and made sure that they were able to reach maximum members of community through rallies, nukkad nataks, awareness sessions, support group meetings and various other field events. Their efforts reached in all to 3000 people.

Since the major decision-making power in Indian families is mostly limited in the hands of a husband in a nuclear family and with elders of the house in joint families. Several events focused on engaging with grandmothers and fathers and sensitize them for importance of breastfeeding for not only for mother and child but for society at large also. Fathers and Grandmothers shared that they had never thought how a breastfeeding child can break the cycle of poverty for family. The community organsier’s motivated fathers and grandmothers on how can they support breastfeeding mothers not only in family but in their neighbourhood and community also, thereby creating a warm chain of support for breastfeeding mothers. This was not only limited to fathers and grandmothers but also shared with support group mothers.

The efforts of team resulted in World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action recognizing efforts of FMCH and awarding us with certifications.

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Volunteer Speak: Xzavier

If a child does not receive proper nutrition during the first 1000 days of existence, beginning from conception to the age of 2 years old, he or she will not reach their full physical or intellectual potential and is at risk of malnutrition.

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Dorothy Wagle

Hear our Advisor and (former) Chair of the erstwhile FMCH Managing Committee speak about her journey with the organisation and how she sees us today.

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Volunteer Speaks : Rinske Blomendal

Our volunteer and (former) Management Committee member Ms Rinske Bloemendal sharing her experience with FMCH.


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Priyanka Athavale : My FMCH Story

In Mumbai, waking up to the sweltering Mumbai heat and sound of pigeons chirping and religious bells in a local temple was a familiar morning for many. As a brief visitor, for just 9 months, I quickly became accustomed to taking the local trains to and from Mahalaxmi, where I was working closely with the FMCH team.

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Rita’s Story

Rita is a young mother who lives in Phule Nagar community. She visited FMCH during her second trimester of pregnancy, after being identified by the FMCH Field Officers during their field visits. She moved to her village for her delivery but returned to the Mumbai with her newborn. The FMCH team spent a lot of time with Rita once she was back.We made repeated home visits, counseled her several times to explain the importance of our First 1000 days program. But all this didn’t quite work. Rita was skeptical about the program and wasn’t sure if she really needed the support.

The FMCH team then decided to introduce Rita to another mother, who has been a regular participant of all FMCH programs. She shared her experience with the FMCH team, and what she felt was benefiting her by joining the 1000 Days’ program.

Rita was partially convinced and agreed to come to the community center for one week, provided she and her child benefited. The FMCH team counseled her on on breastfeeding, and her own care during lactation. We focused on her nutrition intake and ensuring she is staking care of both herself and her child. Very soon we found Rita to be a regular at all FMCh activities. In her words – “I didn’t know anything about health and nutrition and for my older children I had to run a lot to hospital and ended up spending a lot of money. I didn’t believe what I was doing for my child was wrong as I was following village remedies. After I visited FMCH for a week and saw changes in child’s weight, my husband and me started trusting them. After coming to FMCH, I gained information and stopped giving gripe water and other things to my child. Now that I see changes I tell other women from community, they refuse but I still continue to visit FMCH as prevention helped to fewer hospital visits and save money”.

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Sarita’s Story

In the year 2012, FMCH launched the first Community Support Volunteers initiative in Dhobi Ghat, a step towards bringing sustainable change within the community through change agents from within.

Sarita was one of the first CSVs engaged with FMCH, who took over the responsibility of spreading the word on good heath, hygiene and nutrition practices in her neighbourhood, and also providing support to mothers and families for their ante-natal care visits, FMCH clinic visits or referral visits.

Sarita, a mother of two young adult boys, moved to Dhobi Ghat, Mumbai after her marriage. Due to family issues she had not been able to complete her formal education. However, she had always been interested in working for her community, and when the opportunity to be a CSV came up, she grabbed it with great enthusiasm. She spent an entire year as a CSV with FMCH before the opening for a paid position was announced. And it was enthusiasm and tremendous faith in FMCH’s work that made her the obvious choice for the position.

Since then, Sarita has not just been working with FMCH as our Field Officer but also investing in her own development. She completed a Para-Professional certificate course, a counseling certificate course as well as an English-speaking course and finally her Higher Secondary education (12th standard) while managing the full-time job and family. Extremely popular both in the team and the community for her sense of humour and devotion to her work, Sarita has been an inspiration for the FMCH team.

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