“Prabhat Poshan Saathi Program” is an initiative supported by Prabhat – HUL’s community development being implemented by Centre for Knowledge and Development, which aims to improve the nutrition of pregnant and lactating women (PLW) and young children in the Buldana and Nasik districts of Maharashtra and Kutch district of Gujarat. The program uses a behaviour change approach to benefit adolescent girls (10-19 years), pregnant and lactating women, women of the reproductive age group (15-49 years), and children under five years.
Using a life-cycle approach, it focuses on supporting women in their nutrition journey, which aligns with the Government of India’s National Nutrition Mission (Poshan Abhiyaan). The program aims to improve access to health and nutritional knowledge within communities by disseminating behaviour change on nutrition through a network of Prabhat Poshan Saathis, who will also help create Nutri-gardens. The program will be implemented at individual,household, and community levels, strengthening existing government systems.
Individual and Household Level:
The focus of interventions at this level would be increasing nutritional awareness and influencing behavioural change through home visits and interpersonal communication (IPC). These visits are done through audio-visual aids, gamification, and a Nutri-calendar.
Prabhat Poshan Saathis will convene village-level meetings of target beneficiaries to create awareness, promote peer learning and share experiences. These meetings will also utilise various existing platforms, like Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Days (VHSND) days; Godhbharai (baby shower) and Annaprashan (initiation of complementary feeds) – which the ASHAs and Anganwadi workers undertake. For adolescent girls, periodic in-school sessions will be conducted on nutrition and menstrual hygiene issues.
Strengthening government systems:
The Prabhat Poshan Saathis will support ASHAs and AWWs in all nutrition-related activities. The support to Anganwadi workers will ensure regular growth monitoring of under-5 children and accurate data recording, reporting and ration distribution, among other tasks.
ASHAs will also be supported to coordinate with Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres (NRC) managed by the government for timely referral, where inpatient care is provided to severely malnourished children.