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Aahar Programme

Addressing malnutrition by strengthening public systems and promoting community ownership of child nutrition.


Dharavi and Wadala (Mumbai)

Our Work


We believe that strong engagement with both communities and public health systems, can lead to improved health-seeking behaviour and improved service delivery.


Our flagship nutrition programme, Aahar, works to prevent and treat malnutrition in children in less than 2 years of age. We partner with the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), a central government welfare scheme that provides health and nutrition services. Our work covers 142 ICDS anganwadis (child care centres) across vulnerable settlements in Dharavi and Wadala. In Dharavi, competency training is being done with 300 anganwadis.

Child Health and Nutrition


Our intervention is primarily focused on reducing all three forms of malnutrition i.e stunting, wasting and underweight, ensure full immunisation of children and improve Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices.

Maternal health and nutrition


We work to ensure that pregnant women receive optimal antenatal, perinatal and postnatal care. We identify pregnant women early and support them in accessing services from health care providers.

Family Planning


We work to increase uptake of family planning services and improve contraceptive prevalence rate. The main objective of working on family planning is to ensure planned parenthood and promote use of contraceptive methods.

Building awareness and mobilising communities


In our efforts towards building a strong volunteer-driven culture, we work on forming Community Advisory Groups (CAG) and a cadre of community residents who will hold anganwadis accountable for service delivery. We conduct public awareness activities to improve uptake of ICDS services, while promoting good health practices.

Strengthening ICDS implementation


We focus on training and building capacities of anganwadi sevikas (government-employed community health workers who deliver ICDS services) to improve nutrition service delivery in our intervention areas.

Competency training ICDS staff in Dharavi


In order to strengthen the ICDS, it is vital to build the capacities and confidence of its staff. ICDS staff at all levels are imparted technical and behavioural training. These capacity building sessions provide the ICDS staff opportunity to undergo a process of self-development, bring about change, facilitate critical thinking and instill in them willingness for transformative action.

Reach and Impact



67,000

Households
(2016-2022)

30,450

Families (2016-2022)

83%

Children of 12-23 months completed full immunisation
(2021-2022)

81%

Coverage of ICDS scheme (2021-2022)

Notes from the field
Learnings by volunteers for resolving reluctant cases


Handling reluctant cases and their queries pertaining to ICDS mandated services can be challenging for the volunteers. Therefore, imparting timely, updated information on ICDS services through volunteers’ training sessions helps them deal with community queries with confidence.

It was the time when the Maharashtra government kick-started a six-week measles-rubella vaccination drive across all schools. SNEHA’s volunteer Bina Qureshi* came to know that some parents were reluctant to vaccinate their children with the measles and rubella vaccine at the community school where her 6-year-old daughter Sarah* was studying.

During this critical time, the school teachers requested Sarah’s mother Bina to speak to the reluctant parents on measles and rubella vaccine. Bina responsibly nodded yes to the challenge and recollected as much information as possible from her recent measles and rubella volunteers’ training conducted by SNEHA’s Community Organizer. She brought into the limelight the fact that more than 1.3 million children acquired measles infection and around 49,000 infected children died each year in India.

Moreover, she also shared that rubella infection in pregnant women may cause fetal death or congenital defects; it led to the development of birth defects in almost 40,000 children annually in the country. Hearing this, the reluctant parents understood the seriousness of measles-rubella vaccination and allowed doctors to vaccinate their children.

Volunteer Bina’s presence of mind and strenuous efforts in tackling reluctant cases received a huge round of applause and appreciation from her daughter’s school authorities, ICDS Sevika and SNEHA’s Community Organizer.

*Name changed

Partners


Integrated Child Development Services

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation

Julius Baer

Mommy's Bliss Fund of Tides Foundation

HT Parekh Foundation