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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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Laying the seeds for healthy roots for a nourished tomorrow, Urban Nutrition Initiative Exits

The Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI) has been designed to ensure prevention and early detection of malnutrition in ten ‘high-burden’ urban locations of Maharashtra. Led by the Rajmata Jijau Nutrition Mission, this is an initiative implemented in partnership with NGOs and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme.This project aims at implementing ten essential nutrition interventions through the First 1000 Days’ approach as per WHO and UNICEF recommendations. FMCH has undertaken this initiative in order to achieve key organizational goes of sustainability and scale. The initiative provides an opportunity not only to reach an underserved population, but also, for FMCH to share its knowledge and approach with government workers in the hope that its best practices will be taken up by the government for long-term change. FMCH has been implementing the program in Nizampur area of Bhiwandi, Thane district catering 140 AWC’s for over three years. The key program activities includes Home visits, growth monitoring, Mata Melavas, nutrition demonstrations in nutrition course, Pregnancy club, mothers’ groups meetings, community events etc. The program has so far impaced the lives of 3689 children (0-2 years) and 2330 pregnant women and lactating mothers. Within the three years of UNI 106 mother support groups have been created.

Snapshot Of Urban Nutrition Initative

 

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Knowledge Transfer to Expand Reach and designing a sustainable business plan – An Update on FMCH training centre

The core activity of Training Centre is to provide comprehensive training solutions in addressing the training needs of partners on different aspects of nutrition. In past 7 months FMCH has partnered with various stakeholders – schools, corporates, NGO’s and government institutions. With this the centre has expanded its reach to 87689 and also been successful in generating a revenue of Rs 87500.

 

 

 

 

Training Centre has invested great efforts in designing and finalising the business plan for the upcoming years and making it self-sustainable by 2022 stating its future scalability to new states and strategies on its implementation, publicity, communication, revenue generation and financial needs.

During this quarter, training centre finalised, printed, and distributed the innovative and comprehensive Information Cards containing pictorial information about multiple benefits of different food items and different ways & tips of its usage. Also, the module on ‘Nutrition during Tuberculosis’ has been finalised with technical support of a paediatrician and a nutritionist and ready to be rolled out in FMCH intervention areas.

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“These superheroes are gearing up for another quest…“ Jhari Mari Phase 2 begun!

It’s beginning of another week and Saba, Sarita Gupta, Reshma and Sarita Powar (four community organisers) are walking in the slums of Jhari Mari (urban slum of Kurla) door to door and calling the mothers from their areas for a regular check-up for the children. People are greeting them on their way. Some women are promising them to join while some women are just ready waiting to come along with them. There are few women and family members who need a little more push and these four are not letting any stone unturned to convince them and move from their door when they give a nod. Meanwhile Pragya and Shweta are setting up the clinic and waiting for the children to come in. As the women enter, the routine check-up starts – The anthropometric measurements followed by nutritional counselling and medicines in case of any health concern. The children are playing around and community organisers are engaging them while mothers are being counselled by Pragnaya and Shweta. A similar routine follows for other activities like pregnancy club, accha bacha class and nutrition course at the Kurla Centre of FMCH. Sarita shares “I feel that everyday going in the community and giving them a reminder that they have to attend their class or clinic is very important to our project’s impact. It makes that personal contact stronger and beneficiaries feel that we are with them and not just mere delivering services through our centre” But, things were not like this before. FMCH had partner with ICDS and WIPRO in 2017 to specifically work with 24 Anganwadi Centres reporting high incidence of child malnutrition. For phase 1 it was decided to roll out the program on 8 Anganwadi centres. 

The program aims to prevent chronic malnutrition among children in the First 1000 Days in a community setting through nutrition-specific interventions on the 24 Anganwadi Centres of Jhari Mari. 

 

Jhari Mari has been known for few challenges. The baseline survey revealed the reliance of community women on processed foods and tea as breakfast options for children. Majority children consumed tea twice daily. Also delayed health seeking behaviour during antenatal period of women was witnessed. Community had a strong resistance for tetanus immunization during pregnancy which they believed to cause infertility. Further the community becomes waterlogged in monsoons. These were critical hurdles that would come in successful rolling out of project. 

Also, FMCH believes in designing sustainable interventions/ solutions as in long-term the community is self-sufficient to carry forward the key learnings of the intervention. Thus, to address the challenges of the community and ensure sustainability it was then decided that the project team should emerge from community. Faces that community already relates to and ones who are aware of the current attitudes and practices of Jhari Mari. This led to formation of this core team of community women. Together they have been working since 2017 and have not only helped FMCH to leave an impact in community but also bring a change in their outlook and feel empowered within. Saba shares “since we stay here, people know us and this has really helped us. People opened their doors for us and accepted what we had to share them. The most interesting part is when we counsel them for myths and certain behaviours to avoid. They first react and show their resistance but when we rationale them; they accept our information and practice that. They cme back and share with us that how it has helped their kids. It is a great feeling”

The team has left a lasting impact.

  • reaching out to 2195 families (under 8 anganwadi centres) and
  • registered around 300 + children and 60 pregnant mothers. During this period FMCH conducted
  • anaemia testing of 122 children and around 60 pregnant mothers
  • The beneficiaries were provided with nutrition counselling on iron rich foods and further referrals to primary health center’s and hospitals.
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