Dear Reader,



We are happy to bring you the 17th issue of nutrition partners' e-news bulletin WeConnect - a quarterly dose of recent news, views, events, and stories from the nutrition space in India.

We would like to thank Save the Children (STC), Center for Catalysing Change (C3), Jeevika-Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (BRLPS), and UNICEF Bihar for their contribution to the current issue.


About this Issue: 

In this issue, Dr Antaryami Dash from STC throwing light on cross sectoral convergence and the role of CSOs in addressing malnutrition, brings you an innovative intervention Samvardhan- to improve the Nutritional Status of Under 6 months old children from Bihar, Jeevika member-BRLPS contributing to improved nutrition outcome, strengthening VHSNCs for health and nutrition in Gujarat and POSHAN Rath- an innovative SBCC tactic to create community awareness.


Wish you a good read!

Ways to improve cross-sectoral convergence for nutrition in India. What role can civil society organizations play?


Dr. Antaryami Dash is the Deputy Director of Health and Nutrition at Save the Children, India. He is a trained public health and nutrition professional with over 15 years of experience in program management – designing programs and ensuring their quality implementation, harvesting its outcome to influence policies. He provides thought leadership, technical guidance, and knowledge management support to strengthen program delivery at scale.

Malnutrition among women and children has been a persistent public health issue at the global, national, and local levels. The recent UNICEF-WHO-World Bank Group Joint Malnutrition Estimates show that globally, 149.2 million children under five years were stunted in 2020, and 45.4 million suffered from wasting[1]. Global leaders and agencies are responding to these urgent challenges. Government and Non-Government organizations are implementing programmes and facilitating the uptake of nutritious food in vulnerable populations. However, the progress of nutrition outcomes is not in sync with our telling economic growth.

There has been some improvement in nutritional indicators in India, as seen from the five panels of national family health surveys. There are, of course, states where the reduction has been impressive, but that gets elusive when we see the country average. There is a strong momentum building for improving nutritional outcomes and taking on the challenge of hunger and malnutrition. The Government of India, its development partners, and civil society organizations are committed to achieving the goals set under the national nutrition strategy. The core of this strategy is to anchor a multi-sectoral convergence to address nutritional issues through a framework of relevant interventions, indicators, and targets for programmes implemented by different departments.


POSHAN Rath- an innovative way to create community awareness on nutrition in Bihar

As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 5, Bihar has significantly improved on some of the child health and nutrition-related indicators compared to the NFHS 4. The slight gains in these data suggest that a lot remains to be done in the state of Bihar before decent coverage and outcomes are achieved. And to ensure this, it is critical to leverage the potential of Gram Panchayat Ward Members and Mukhiyas to mobilize communities, and target women/mothers and adolescents with messages of right nutrition. A sensitized Panchayat representative can collaborate with the Department to ensure meaningful interaction during Poshan Pakhwada/Maah activities and promote behavior change.


As a behavior change effort, the Centre for Catalyzing Change (C3) along with Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Bihar, came together for the movement of POSHAN Rath (Nutrition Chariot) to promote right nutrition during POSHAN Pakhwada 2022. POSHAN Rath aims to neutralize incorrect perceptions and practices related to Nutrition in local communities and build awareness about the benefits and the process of right Nutrition in the rural communities from 10 districts of Bihar. The Raths were designed by the Centre for Catalysing Change (C3), is an auto-rickshaw/E-rickshaw containing displays and information for local communities to build awareness about beneficial nutrition practices and were led by women Panchayat Representatives on the village roads. C3 team with inputs from the ICDS Secretariat, Govt. of Bihar finalized the nutrition-related messaging to be designed on the Raths, including the messages on the importance of IFA supplementation of pregnant women, balanced diet, growth monitoring of children, slogan of POSHAN Abhiyaan, etc. It was very special for village roads in ten districts of Bihar. The Rath auto crossed narrow roads and reached a large number of community members (how many) with positive messages about nutrition.


Innovative Solutions to tackle undernutrition

Samvardhan-An intervention to improve the Nutritional Status of Under 6 months old children in Purnea

The growth and development of children below 6 months of age are very fast and more rapid in the first three months of life. As per the WHO recommendation, a child should gain 800 to 900 gm weight and 3 to 4 cm height/length every month in the first three months of life. A child below six months of age has the potential to grow optimally if exclusively breastfed for the first six months. As per the NFHS-5, wasting (weight for length) is highest among children below 6 months of age.

In Bihar, the moderate wasting rate is 31.4% and severe wasting is 15.1%  which is the highest among all age groups. It is imperative to intervene in this age group not only to reduce neonatal mortality but also to improve the nutritional status of the children.


Strengthening VHSNC meetings for improved health and nutrition services in Gujarat

Leveraging existing mechanisms within the system for improving service quality is a key aspect of ongoing Alive & Thrive-supported implementation research in Gujarat. New and revamped processes are being incorporated in meetings of bodies such as the Village, Health, Sanitation, and Nutrition Committee (VHSNC) to ensure health and nutrition services are prioritized and approached with quality consciousness.

After the launch of the intervention, one of the villages, Ravidara of Ankleshwar block in Bharuch district, had a VHSNC meeting after a gap of two and a half years. VHSNCs were formed in villages to take collective action on issues related to health and nutrition and underlying social determinants at the village level under the National Health Mission. The committee is meant to provide a means of decentralizing health and nutrition planning and comprises key stakeholders in service delivery.


Stories of Hope

Counseling and support rehabilitated Kartick from the grips of malnutrition, in Bihar

Phulkumari a 23-year-old tribal lady is residing at Ganeshpur Panchayat of Krityanand Nagar block of Purnea district in Bihar. She delivered her second boy child named Kartick at home on 23 February 2022, assisted by a trained Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM). The newborn was a low-birthweight child and weighed less than 2 kilograms. Initially, Kartick’s mother and the family member assumed that Phulmani does not have sufficient milk for the baby, and started giving him cow milk. At the time of the home visit, ASHA, and Community Based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) Project staff identified the issue


Jeevika enabling improved health and nutrition outcomes for mother and child in Bihar 

Meet Madhudevi from Pathua village in Aurangabad district, Bihar. She is an active member of Jeevika's Lakshman group, affiliated with Tara Village Organization. Madhudevi has three children and lives in a joint family along with her mother-in-law and three brother-in-law and their wives. Her eldest son is 8 years old followed by 5 years, and 8 months old. Madhu's knowledge of a healthy diet, and nutritious or unhealthy foods during her first two pregnancies was very limited. Additionally, she did not go for her ante-natal checkups and missed taking the iron and calcium tablets.


About Jeevika:

The Government of Bihar (GoB), through the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (BRLPS), an autonomous body under the Department of Rural Development, is spearheading the World Bank-aided Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project (BRLP), locally known as JEEViKA with the objective of social & economic empowerment of the rural poor. Subsequently, the Livelihoods Restoration and Enhancement component of the Bihar Kosi Flood Recovery Project (BKFRP) was also taken into the fold of JEEViKA.

For more info, click here: Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (

Key Events of the Quarter

Know More...

Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

LinkedIn Share

For more information, please visit: