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Health and Nutrition in Livelihoods Mission

Over the past two decades India has seen significant improvements in household incomes, agricultural productivity, and child survival, although malnutrition among children remains high, despite improvements over the last decade. Pregnancy and lactation have an adverse

effect on chronically undernourished women. Low pre-pregnancy weight and low pregnancy weight gain are associated with low birth weight and other consequences. Anaemia across population groups has been a concern even today despite several efforts and investments in the country. Thus, certain aspects of health and nutrition remain a concern and require multi-pronged approach and greater attention.

The need is to look for opportunities that will complement the investments in a range of initiatives and programmes to fight malnutrition and other health issues. These opportunities are in the form of convergence with other programs and make health and nutrition a community issue that will require a need to develop and guide interventions in harmony with the unique circumstances of each region through micro planning, rather than prescribing a single approach. These interventions will address the gaps in service delivery, lack of knowledge & awareness on nutrition and related services & entitlements, issues around existing social and religious norms, food taboos and community participation.

DAY NRLM’s Self Help Groups across 34 SRLMs, with its community institutions provides a perfect platform for these interventions, by allowing for multiple pathways to address the underlying, indirect, and direct determinants of health and nutrition. DAY-NRLM has adopted the Dasha-Sutra Strategy towards an integrated FNHW (Food, Nutrition, Health, WASH) approach for holistic development of SHG members. This strategy came into being due to the realisation that lucrative and stable livelihoods are necessary for access to diverse foods; at the same time, good health and nutrition are a condition for inclusive livelihood development.

Through this approach, DAY-NRLM aims to create awareness and encourage behaviour change among rural women on these issues as well as mobilise the SHG members to access related entitlements from the concerned public health and line departments.

PCI India has over a decade’s experience of demonstrating the effectiveness of the SRLM / livelihoods platform in bringing positive impact on health and nutrition outcomes in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and others. We are also a Technical Assistance agency to DAY-NRLM for supporting integration of Food, Nutrition, Health and WASH at the national level.