Access to good, healthy food is a basic human right, but what when many in your country are denied this basic right? The Global Hunger Index 2019 report puts India at the 102nd rank, with a score of 30.3, which is a serious level of hunger. Over 9.3 million children in rural India suffer from malnutrition and 89 million from anaemia.
Ironically, India also happens to be one of the most bountiful countries in the world in terms of food produce.
In rural India, where the problem of hunger and malnutrition is severe, Acche din aayenge only when the people have a companion to handhold and lead them to this basic right of nutritious food every day. And that's where the SuPoshan Project comes into play. A CSR initiative founded in 2016 by Adani Wilmar and implemented by Adani Foundation, in association with Fortune Foods, it is working towards eradicating malnutrition and anaemia in India.
Ghar ka Khana in every Indian home
Fortune Foods, a brand under Adani Wilmar, has been around for a whole decade, making home-cooked meals memorable and Ghar ka khana what it is today in India. Nutritious ingredients like turnip, brinjal, soybean, and jaggery are made yummy and enticing for children with recipes made out of Fortune products.
Kids in rural India are no different, but here's where mothers struggle to feed them with nutritious ingredients. Turning boring ingredients into yummy meals that their young ones will enjoy is quite a task. And these are the meals that will help fight malnutrition and anaemia. If the issue of malnutrition is not addressed at an early stage, it can have grave effects on a child’s health, including low weight, recurring illness, delayed physical and mental development, irritability, poor appetite, poor learning ability at school, and so on.
The SuPoshan project is on a quest to make India a healthier, stronger, and productive nation. Their fight is against malnutrition and anaemia among the target groups: children in the 0-5 years’ age group and adolescent girls and women in reproductive age at various locations in the country.
“Fortune has always provided nutrition to millions of households through our edible oils that are fortified with vitamins. We are a brand with a heart and a purpose. Fortune SuPoshan is our endeavour to contribute towards the mission of a 'Malnutrition-Free India'. Through a network of SuPoshan Sanginis, who belong to the local community and are recruited/trained by our implementation partners, Adani Foundation, we improve the quality of delivery of Anganwadi services, hence improving the lives of malnourished children, women and adolescent girls. The objective is to significantly decrease the incidence of malnutrition in the villages we intervene in, on an immediate short-term basis, and through a shift in social and cultural mindset among stakeholders towards the nutrition needs of adolescent girls, ensure that the village stays malnutrition-free in the long term as well," says Ajay Motwani - Head, Marketing, Adani Wilmar Ltd.
The project is involved in several activities at village level, including spreading awareness, selecting volunteers (Sanginis) and training them, household surveys, focus group discussion and family counselling, pregnant and lactating women’s care, food and hygiene demonstration, innovative cooking shows, SuPoshan meals, and maintaining SuPoshan Vatikas (kitchen gardens).
A Sangini in time of need
The SuPoshan Sangini is a volunteer handpicked from the communities and trained to be an asset that can create change in these areas. Sanginis work towards improving a family’s ecosystem by using self-sustaining methods, in-depth focus discussions, demos, and hands-on guidance to train and counsel women in the community on issues relating to malnutrition, anaemia, general health, and hygiene. They also channel government aid, in cases of severe distress, by promoting and delivering government schemes and services.
“Initially, I joined SuPoshan project for utilising my education and free time but soon realised that the project is intensive and helps my community in need. I learned new things like survey, counselling and referral of severe cases. The training imparted by Project SuPoshan enhanced my communication abilities and knowledge of malnutrition. Now, I am respected by the elders of the village because of the Project. The referral of severe malnourished children and severe anaemia cases to district hospitals is a very fulfilling experience, as I see them becoming healthy. I look forward to making my village a SuPoshit village in the next 2 years," says Mamta Sormore - Sangini, Saoner, Maharashtra.
The Sanginis are trained to visit each household, impart knowledge on the right level of nutrition intake by sharing nutritional recipes, and monitor their health status on a regular basis. To these families, they are a guide, educator and guardian - a true companion who stays with them through thick and thin.
The journey so far and the road ahead
In the year of inception, Project SuPoshan identified 10 locations covering 276 villages and five wards; it has grown exceptionally since then. Today, they serve 20 locations spread across 1,209 villages and 94 slums, and covering 14.8 lakh population in more than 3,00,000 households.
A team of 56 development professionals and 588 Sanginis is spreading awareness and facilitating behavioural change in 1,17,474 children of 0-5 years, 1,16, 474 adolescent girls of 10-19 years, and 2,53,554 women in the reproductive age of 19-45 years.