Zero Hunger: Can ANNADA get us there?
One in three Indian children is malnourished. This means one in three children is in danger of suffering serious physiological and psychological disorders, rendering them helpless and dependent, and in danger of missing out on education, shoving them further down into the depths of poverty. Imagine a future where one-third of the adult population in India lives this way all their life, unable to fend for themselves, to earn a wholesome living or contribute to our economy. And this situation is entirely preventable. Proper antenatal care, breastfeeding infants for at least six months, and consuming necessary nutrients are some of the major measures that can be taken to prevent these disorders.
Association for Nutrition and Development Action (ANNADA) and Foundation for Mother and Child Health (FMCH) have partnered to launch Project Khushi, an initiative to eliminate malnutrition in India. ANNADA is a social enterprise whose aim is to impact the lives of one million children through nutrition by 2025. Their mission is to make sure underprivileged children everywhere, especially in areas with low infrastructure and accessibility, also receive the nutrition they need. Other than nutrition, FMCH works to encourage preventive health in mothers and children and developmental activities in deprived communities. Together, they have built high hopes. Together, the two bodies run Project Khushi which operates to achieve the goal of Zero Hunger in India.
The solution: how will ANNADA help eliminate hunger?
Their solution to the problem is an innovative one- to distribute micronutrient fortified meals to underprivileged children below the age of six, pregnant women and lactating mothers. These are cooked and packed meals that retain the nutrients for a period of time long enough to transport the packages. These meals can later be simply heated up and eaten. This novel method permits ANNADA to deliver nutrition easily to a large population over a large geography.
1.2 million children lose their lives as victims of malnutrition every single year. Our country holds a third of the world’s undernourished people; 195 million to be exact. Though Anganwadis exist as a source of food and care for underprivileged children, most centres do not have the equipment they need to look after the children left with them. Project Khushi will be catering to six impact zones in Bhiwandi, which is one of the areas in the state of Maharashtra with the highest malnutrition statistics. The programme will impact around 20 Anganwadis and feed about 2000 children in each impact zone.
“We provide these meals to Anganwadis and train the workers to prepare the meals properly,” says SatyenMelwani, Marketing and Partnerships at ANNADA. “We don’t want to stop at simply distributing these meals, though. We care about whether this is truly a working solution, whether our efforts are really bearing fruit. So we keep in touch with these workers and make sure the children under their care are receiving the nutrition they need regularly. And we can see it, the change we’re starting to make.”
Achieving Zero Hunger is a UN Sustainable Development goal for good reason. Without adequate nutrition, a human cannot be expected to be healthy, educate themselves, to be productive, become independent or be valuable to the country’s economy. Without adequate nutrition, human life is wasted.
However, feeding every undernourished Indian child is no small feat. Project Khushi is crowdfunding to function smoothly and deliver results. A donation of Rs 1,650 can save a child’s life – the money will be used to provide micronutrient fortified meals to an underprivileged child for 180 days! Funds will also be used for various other activities to combat malnutrition. Your donation will help provide suitable cooking and storage equipment to communities with low infrastructure, to conduct regular awareness programmes to educate people on the importance of nutrition, food hygiene and practising disease prevention. ANNADA will also be providing appropriate food handling training for food operation workers.
If you believe zero hunger is vital for progress, contribute to ANNADA’s fundraiser for Project Khushi.