The event, held in Bhopal, was conducted under the BMZ funded and GIZ supported ‘Food and Nutrition Security and Enhanced Resilience Amongst Vulnerable Communities’ project, which has been implemented by Welthungerhilfe in partnership with Mahatma Gandhi Sewa Ashram and Darshna Mahila Kalyan Samiti in Sheopur and Chhatarpur. Both the districts have a high prevalence of malnutrition.
The workshop brought together senior government officials of the state of Madhya Pradesh such as Mr. J.N. Kansotia, Principal Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development and Mr. Sudarshan Kumar Soni, Joint Director, Mid Day Meal (MDM) Programme as well as representatives of civil society organisations and activists.
Mr. J.N. Kansotia (L), Principal Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh
Addressing the participants, Principal Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development, Mr. Kansotia spoke about ‘a need for local food diversity and participatory approaches’. “Convergence of key programmes and departments is crucial for addressing malnutrition and quality of life,” he said.
The presentations and discussions centred on themes such as food security and food diversity situation in the project area. In particular, the implementing organisations shared their strategies and experiences in advancing food security and dietary diversity in their respective districts (Sheopur and Chhatarpur) and discussed a way forward.
The workshop also focussed on the findings of Citizen Report Cards, a participatory survey to assess the access to and effectiveness of public services from the point of view of users. “Citizens Report Card is a powerful tool of accountability as citizens provide feedback on the access, availability and quality of services,” explained Dr. Yogesh Kumar, Executive Director of Samarthan, which has facilitated and prepared the CRC.
“A constructive feedback mechanism develops a platform for dialogue and facilitates joint planning to improve the situation to address the issues of malnutrition or any other important service,” he added.
Participants included representatives from civil society organisations
Under the project, the CRCs delved into assessing important government programs that are being implemented to ensure nutrition and food security to the poor and marginalised population. These include Anganwadi Centres (community centres to provide government services under the Integrated Child Services Scheme), the Public Distribution System and Mid Day Meal Program for the schoolchildren.
The survey was conducted with an aim to promote citizens engagement in advocacy and improved governance in the food security and nutrition related government programmes in the intervention area. The findings of the CRCs will be shared with the government officials.
The project ‘Food and Nutrition Security and Enhanced Resilience Amongst Vulnerable Communities’ under the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)’s global initiative ‘ONE WORLD-NO HUNGER aims at behaviour change amongst local communities for achieving better nutrition outcomes. Under the programme, Anganwadi Workers (community health workers) are trained to reach the community through Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) methods to improve the nutritional status of women and children. Families are supported in setting up nutrition gardens in a bid to enhance dietary diversity. The project has been implemented at the district level by partners Mahatma Gandhi Sewa Ashram and Darshna Mahila Kalyan Samiti. Samarthan has provided technical support to Welthungerhilfe to prepare citizens’ report cards for both the districts and Ekjut has facilitated trainings in participatory learning and action cycles.