The Situation in India
The hunger and poverty rates in India are high, especially in rural areas where a majority of the population lives, a third of them in poverty. To give you an idea, 24% of the world’s hungry live in India: 195.9 million, or 14.5%, are malnourished, including nearly 45% of children under age 5. In the Tansa Valley, malnutrition and poverty rates are higher.
The negative health and economic impact of malnutrition can affect communities for generations. Lack of proper nutrition impedes children’s physical and intellectual growth; makes them more susceptible to disease and more likely to remain health-challenged in adulthood; and adversely affects their life-long earning power.
Here’s our Approach
- We start at the beginning with our Reproductive and Child Health Program, educating women on the importance of nutrition in prenatal care and childcare to ensure healthy pregnancies, births and beyond.
- We monitor nutritional health for infants and young children at our Family Health Center and provide health checkups and education to adolescents through our School Health Camps.
- Kitchen Gardens are ways to engage the whole family in growing fresh, nutritious vegetables. We provide the seeds and technical assistance throughout. Kitchen gardens help to diversify a family’s diet and sometimes provide extra to sell at market, boosting family income.
- When women are empowered, families eat better and girls are more likely to get an education. Our Women’s Self-Help Groups (SHG’s) help women save and invest in each other, get business training, and build the confidence to earn incomes of their own, giving them independence and power at home. 80% of our SHG members are farmers.
- Through our Agriculture Program, we provide access to resources and training for farmers to increase productivity and diversity with second crops – fruit, flowers, and vegetables – they use at home and sell at market, which helps families earn additional income to purchase protein-rich foods to supplement their diets.
The Nutrition Program, launched in 2013, evolved from the Milk Project. An important first step, the Milk Project proved that nutritional intervention was needed and can be effectively delivered through schools, resulting in improved attendance on days when milk was distributed.
Today, infants, toddlers and children up to age 6 and pregnant and nursing women receive both milk and supplemental nutritional snacks six days a week. In the first six years of a child’s life, adequate protein and nutrients are crucial to support physical and brain health. Participants also receive regular check-ups to ensure their sustained health and that they are measuring up to World Health Organization growth standards. This program has been instrumental in reducing the malnutrition rate in children from 43% in 2015 to 17% by the end of 2018.
Since 2014, the Nutrition Program has provided 570,000 nutritious supplements to infants, children, and pregnant and nursing women.