Nutrition meets entitlements in Odisha’s Community Hunger Fighter plans

A band of Community Hunger Fighters who use participatory methods to build community nutrition are all set to make plans for 47 villages in Odisha, after a series of trainings.

The initiative supported by the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) included a residential training in January 2020, for over 72 Community Hunger Fighters. The training comprised agriculture, nutrition and food habit modules in multiple interactive ways. These included, understanding food requirement for a family of five, knowledge of bottlenecks in agricultural production and challenges in accessing government entitlements. Role play and songs were an integral part of the residential workshop, to encourage participants to open up and exchange ideas and draw energy and inspiration from their culture.

Access to government entitlements being an integral part of household food and nutrition security, the special focus this time, was on entitlements organized for all the CHFs at MSSRF’s Biju Patnaik Tribal Agro-biodiversity Centre.

Shri Loaknath Dalabehera OAS (SB), Sub Collector, Jeypore who was the Chief Guest appreciated efforts for food and nutrition security of small and marginal farmers, especially tribal communities. He expressed hope that the initiative would improve nutrition status of the community soon. Govt. officials from Agriculture, Fishery, Animal Husbandry, Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, Panchayati Raj and District Industrial Centre departments participated in the programme and explained access to schemes and entitlements pertaining to their Department.

The MSSRF team will work with CHFs to develop village-wise plans and facilitate methods to approach different departments for access to entitlements.  MSSRF has been implementing projects to improve livelihood, health and nutrition of tribal and rural communities in Koraput. To further these efforts MSSRF is currently engaged in an initiative titled, “Strengthening Livelihood and Enhancing Food and Nutrition Security of Small and marginal Farmers of Koraput District in a Farming System Model” in 47 villages under Mathapada and Doraguda GP of Boipariguda Block. Community Nutrition Awareness is an integral part of the programme supported by RKVY.

This is the second set of trainings, while the first round was organized in November 2019, with over 92 CHFs selected by the community.  The first module dealt with concepts on being healthy, dietary diversity, role of different nutrients in maintaining good health, nutritive value of various food groups, agricultural planning with various types of land for dietary diversity, Infant and Young Child Feeding practices, shortlisting key messages and ways of taking them forward in the community.