To address cases of sever acute malnutrition (SAM), Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs) have been established by the government – where mothers bring their children for treatment. While the children are receiving care at the NRCs, the mothers don’t have much to do. UNICEF and partners introduced an innovation for the mothers who are waiting at the centre: Nutrition Gardens – to address community based nutrition needs of children.
This community resilience building activity involves training women in creating and developing Nutrition Gardens, which are linked to schools and Anganwadis. These gardens are a source of fresh green vegetables to the mid day meal programme in schools and feeding programme in the Anganwadis, promoting nutrition levels through availability of green vegetables throughout the year.
The gardens also promote agricultural best practices wherein the water is put into earthen pots embedded in the garden bed which helps check loss of water due to evaporation and just enough water is provided at the root zone of the plants. The women are also trained in best practices around nutrition, sanitation, hygiene and even repair of hand pumps.
Over time, the women have started taking the lessons learnt home and creating their own Nutrition Gardens. They share their knowledge with fellow farmers; and also support their communities in creating soak pits around the hand pumps and improving the sanitation facilities.