Over 3000 State Mission employees and members of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) from 34 states logged in to attend the third edition of ‘Gender Samwaad,’ organised by the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development. It’s a national virtual effort run by the DAY-NRLM to raise awareness about the mission’s activities around the country via the perspective of gender. Promotion of food and nutrition security through women’s collectives’ was the focus for this edition. The event was held as part of the Amrit Mahotsava‘s Iconic Week commemoration theme of ‘Naye Bharat ki Naari.‘
- National and State Rural Livelihoods Missions (SRLMs) were able to hear from SHG women and share and learn from best practices during the event. Shri Nagendra Nath Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, spoke at the online gathering and underlined the potential of women collectives to encourage behaviour change and access to services. “Across the country, SHG women played a critical role in promoting COVID-19 awareness among over 5.5 crore rural families,” he said.
- Nita Kejrewal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, shared the Ministry’s perspective and initiatives on food, nutrition, health, and WASH interventions (FNHW). “SHGs under the DAY-NRLM are focusing on a variety of interventions to combat malnutrition, including increasing rural household income, enhancing productivity, and diversifying nutrient-rich food crops, as well as social and economic development.”
- SHG members’ behaviour change communication (SBCC),” she explained.
- “SHG women can promote behaviour change, counsel women on care of low-birth weight babies, promote girl’s education, healthy diets, consumption of micronutrients, marriage at the right age, as well as spacing between pregnancies,” said Dr Vinod Kumar Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, highlighting the ways in which SHGs can work with specific target groups across the life cycle. He also did an excellent job of explaining malnutrition and newborn and young child feeding and care techniques.
- Shri Dhrijesh Tiwari, Statistical Advisor, Ministry of Women and Child Development, discussed the Ministry’s many measures for women’s and children’s nutrition.
- Smt. Meeta Rajivlochan, Member Secretary, National Commission for Women, spoke about the importance of women’s nutrition and their rights and entitlements in this area.
- Dr. Kalyani Raghunathan of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) presented the findings of studies on the impact of relevant food and nutrition interventions through women collectives.
OTHER IMPORTANT POINTS:
- State Mission Directors and Community Resource Persons from SRLMs in Bihar, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh gave presentations on how they plan to integrate FNHW activities into SHGs’ routine activities under the DAY-NRLM.
- SBCC techniques and promotion of nutrition-sensitive agriculture to complement and diversify food groups accessible at home were discussed by Bihar SRLM’s CEO.
- CEOs from Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh SRLM presented their work on promoting nutrition security through nutri-based enterprises and nutri-garden campaigns, respectively, while CEOs from Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh SRLM shared their learnings and experiences from group meetings and engaging male members alongside women for maternal nutrition interventions.