Nutrition has the power to empower the present and future generation. The investment of nutrition today can eradicate poverty. Advocacy and communication are the driving force for positive nutrition outcomes in the individual, group, community and societal level. It is through advocacy and communication that policy changes are influenced and communities are sensitized.
Nutrition champions are individuals who use their platforms and influence to position nutrition as a key priority at global, regional, national and local level. They contribute to raise awareness and change negative attitudes and behaviours related to nutrition, and help foster collaboration. The role of nutrition champions in advocating for nutrition, formulating policies, and coordinating and implementing action in nutrition have increasingly been recognised in many countries such as Peru, Brazil, Thailand, and the Indian states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
These Champions use their own unique life experiences and skills to reach out to others to elevate the nutritional and health profile of the people around them through various means.
The Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment (POSHAN) Abhiyaan (Mission) is designed to reduce the levels of stunting, under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight babies. The mission, through a robust convergence mechanism and other components would strive to create a synergy among different schemes and programmes to achieve the common goals for holistic nourishment.
To achieve these at all levels the Nutrition Champions will play crucial roles in promoting awareness regarding the importance of nutrition in each region, identify, promote peer-to-peer approaches, and train more people at the community as nutrition champions.
In 2016, out of the 10 Global Nutrition Champions, selected by Transform Nutrition, 4 were Indians, viz. Mr. Basanta Kumar Kar, Mr. Debajeet Sarangi, Ms. Neerja Chowdhury, & Mr. V Ramani. These Champions use their own unique life experiences and skills to reach out to others to elevate the nutritional and health profile of the people around them through various means.
Action Against Hunger-India/Fight Hunger Foundation (AAH/FHF) identified twelve Nutrition Champions from the various districts of Rajasthan. Many of them were involved in POSHAN phase-I (Proactive and Optimum care of children through Social- Household Approach for Nutrition) a well-known programme ofGovernment of Rajasthan, during 2015-16. The Champions will be working at a different level for disseminating information, knowledge, and awareness on Nutrition and IMAM programme and help local, block, district and state level works relating to child malnutrition.
On 7th June 2018, Action Against Hunger- India/Fight Hunger Foundation organized an Orientation Workshop in Jaipur where the Government of Rajasthan nominated 12 Nutrition Champions from the State, based on the work they carried out during the State’s POSHAN phase-I Programme in 2015-16 and their dedication to make Rajasthan a Kuposhan Mukt State (Kuposhan Mukt = Malnutrition Free). These Nutrition Champions are individuals from the Panchayats, Communities, and Blocks etc. with diversified backgrounds but a common agenda: ‘realising the objectives of the Poshan Abhiyaan’. The Secretary – Medical Health & Family Welfare and Mission Director- NHM, Government of Rajasthan, Shri Naveen Jain, who graced the workshop with his due presence, decorated the 12 Nutrition Champions with a badge. He appreciated the champions for their dedication and hard work and urged the community nutrition champions to continue working as this is just a beginning of a much larger goal of eliminating malnutrition from India.
The concept of nutrition champion is like lighting candles, which can also light more, and spread the light of good health and happiness in creating Kuposhan Mukt Bharat.
HOD – Advocacy
Action Against Hunger- India/Fight Hunger Foundation