Friday, 24 February 2017

Nutritional Awareness- exploring entry points

With more than 70 percent of the cereal based diet with a small proportion of protein and micronutrient, undernutrition is a serious challenge in Bangladesh. 

In the polders of coastal Bangladesh, the situation exacerbates further with a significant part of the population which doesn’t have sufficient food to eat throughout the year. More than food access, the nutritional security depends on awareness about the nutrition-rich farming system and dietary diversity.

With support from Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and HarvestPlus, the SIIL-Polder project is working with the community on a nutrient-inclusive production system. Being staple food, the cultivation of rice with high nutrition can help to address the health issue especially improving the immune system and reduce stunting in the children. The project has introduced BRRI dhan 62 and 72 rice varieties in the region which not only will increase the land productivity but will also add micronutrient (Zn) in the diet. 

To create the knowledge hub on nutrition, the project has started the awareness training at the primary school in each village. As many studies indicated that increasing in mothers’ knowledge on nutrition may contribute significantly to the family especially child's nutritional status, the project has engaged mother of primary school children in these training and awareness campaign. These training events are focused on creating awareness among mothers on the importance of micronutrient, high nutritious rice and benefits of biofortified rice to the health of children and mother. Three training events were organized involving 19 women teachers and 29 mothers of kindergarten students.

The project is also testing the model of engaging and increasing awareness among the women on nutrition at household level including farmer’s wife, sister, and mother. Training events were organized to discuss on consumption of nutritious rice and its impact on children, lactating and pregnant mothers. In last 6 months, the project has reached to 788 women including 187 direct beneficiaries who received seeds of climate resilient and nutritious high yielding rice varieties for aman season.

As women play a central role in the family especially on food diversity and they can be major players for carrying and sharing knowledge on nutrition with other family members and community.

By: Ratna Rokhsana and Shilpi 


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