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ASTITVA - Pulling Tribal Women & Children Out of Malnutrition

Campaign by Manavaseva Dharma Samvardhani

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The Problem:

There are serious cases of malnourishment and nutritional deficiencies among women of reproductive age, adolescents, and children in the Kurumba tribal hamlets of the Nilgiris. Among the children (0-6 years) there is a high prevalence of stunting and wasting, which in turn leads to low immunity levels, and poor learning outcomes. Among adolescents, anemia is a serious issue. This is mainly due to their reduced access to forest produce and human-wildlife conflict, which has made them more dependent on Public Distribution System and the market. This causes a lack of diet diversity and multiple nutritional deficiencies that hinder their growth. Coupled with the lack of health literacy at the community level and the education system i.e., the school level, this makes it difficult for them to get out of the intergenerational cycle of malnourishment

Our Solution:

We support the tribal households to implement sustainable intervention programs and educate/train them on various practices.

  1. In the area of Nutrition, we are providing expectant and lactating mothers as well as all children, with a hot, cooked nutritious lunch and supplements that not only support their nutrition but also teach them what a good diet is, and what it can do for them and their children.
  2. For all the households, we are providing dry millet-rich rations and recipes that will enable them to cook healthy and tasty meals and support them to go back to their own traditional foods which are rich in nutrients.
  3. A Kitchen Garden Program enables the households to grow their own produce in their own small spaces near their house, either on the ground or in bags, which in turn enables them to be self-sufficient and provides them with nutrition security.
  4. In the area of healthcare, we are using a health literacy module that educates the students and the community stakeholders on basic health and hygiene concepts like sanitation, reproductive health, nutrition/balanced diet, etc.
  5. We seek to influence individual lifestyle decisions and community awareness of the determinants of health and encourage individual and community actions.

The Impact:

  • In the first four months of our program itself, we have seen health parameters improved by 65%.
  • Two 5-year old boys, who were stunted and had shown no growth for two years, have now shown a turnaround and recorded a growth in height, weight, and activity levels.
  • Through our nutritional supplements to expectant and lactating mothers, we have seen high-risk expectant mothers deliver healthy babies.
  • We are seeing the households achieve improved diet diversity and nutrient intake.
Manavaseva Dharma Samvardhani

Manavaseva Dharma Samvardhani

Beneficiary Charity




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