United Way Mumbai campaign against malnourishment for National Nutrition Month

MUMBAI: Project Poshan, United Way Mumbai’s (UWM) campaign that focuses on fighting malnutrition. As part of the campaign UWM will be commemorating Rashtriya Poshan Maah (National Nutrition Month), which is part of Government of India’s POSHAN Abhiyaan (the Prime Minister’s scheme for holistic promotion of nutrition)

National Nutrition Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7th September. However, this year, the Government of India has called for a month long commemoration, focusing on 8 themes – Antenatal Care, optimal breastfeeding (early and exclusive) and complementary feeding, anaemia, growth monitoring and girls’ education, diet, right age of marriage, hygiene and sanitation, and food fortification.

This annual commemoration aims to intensify awareness generation on the importance of nutrition for good health which further impacts development, productivity, economic growth and, ultimately national development.

United Way Mumbai is extending its support to this mission through Project Poshan and will be undertaking a month long campaign to mobilise various stakeholders in the fight against malnutrition. For this, UWM has planned various interventions throughout September, in rural and tribal communities of Karjat and Panvel and slum communities in the F/North municipal ward of Mumbai city.

Interventions will include; sensitisation sessions  with village panchayat committee members, urging them to pledge for a “Malnutrition-free village”; group meetings and dialogue on nutrition with pregnant women and lactating mothers and with fathers; home visits and counselling sessions for parents of severely acute malnourished children; group counselling on nutrition through women and adolescent girls’ groups; nutrition themed games with children in Anganwadi centres and capacity building of Anganwadi sevikas for safe food handling.

Primarily, the interventions aim to reach out to those among whom change is intended, including mothers of young children, adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women. In addition to this, our stakeholders also include those who can influence the main stakeholders to adopt changes, viz. family members, health workers, community members; and those who can help create a conducive environment for the change to take place, viz. health facilities and their staff, women’s SHGs, administrative officials, media, celebrity ambassadors, policy makers, etc.

By targeting all the above stakeholders through structured interventions, UWM’s Project Poshan is a holistic approach to fight malnutrition. Activities such as Setting up of Kitchen Gardens in Anganwadi Centres and commemoration of the World Breastfeeding Week through cultural celebrations like Godh Bharai, etc have been part of these interventions.

UWM’s campaign to celebrate National Nutrition Month kicked off on Friday, 31st August at Panvel in presence of key government officials, village panchayat committee members, community members, health workers etc. The participants pledged to work towards a “Malnutrition-free Village” in the block.