Dr. Mahtab S. Bamji, INSA Honorary Scientist, Dangoria Charitable Trust, Hyderabad.
Dr. G. Subbulakshmi, Former Director, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai
Principal Investigator Dr. Tannaz Birdi
Project Team Dr. Sujay Joshi, Dr. ShratiKotian
Funder Jamsetji Tata Trust, Mumbai
Duration May 2011 – Nov 2013
Budget Rs.54.91 Lakhs
The repertoire of plant based research at FMR prompted the Tata Trusts to invite the foundation to undertake an intervention study addressing malnutrition in Melghat by implementing a Kitchen Garden
The recurring news of malnutrition deaths amongst the Korku tribe of Melghat in Amravati District of Maharashtra has held national attention since 1996. To address this, in June 2011, we initiated a two year pilot project on the establishment of perennial kitchen gardens and nutrition education in Dharni block of Melghat. The project initially covered 396 households in ten villages however, with a growing demand for inclusion; the project covered 1,580 households in 15 villages. The project supported development of skills, knowledge and basic start-up tools to implement kitchen gardens.
Malnutrition was found to be highly prevalent amongst all age groups. Women suffered from a heavy workload and under-nutrition, with 81% weighing below 50 kg. The mother's lack of nutrition and hygiene knowledge, along with faulty weaning practices (33% of infants were started on complimentary feeding at 1 year instead of the recommended 6 months), reflected in high levels of under-nutrition in the 0-5 age group.
Cereals supplied by the Public Distribution System (PDS) and pulses either grown in their farm or bought from the market - though insufficient, did partially meet the caloric requirements of the study population. Intake of Green Leafy Vegetables (GLV), a vital source of micro-nutrients was minimal and merely used as garnishing. Consumption of all other food categories was inadequate due to lack of awareness, affordability and accessibility. Additionally, the inability to store vegetables also affected their consumption.
PRA Activity with school children to determine gender based work distributionNutrition messages to school children in the form of a gameCooking and tasting demonstration of garden cress parathas for village women
The community perceived malnutrition as severe muscle wasting and thinness and thought that it only affected children. They believed that satisfaction of hunger was enough and had no understanding of micro-nutrient deficiency and its link to malnutrition.
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