Mumbai: Vitamin Angels India has announced a partnership with UNICEF India for Poshan Maah 2022. Keeping in line with the POSHAN Maah campaign by the Government of India, the goal is to implement a comprehensive, unified outreach and awareness programme to enhance nutritional content, delivery, outreach, and outcomes with a renewed focus on fostering health, wellness, and immunity to disease and undernutrition.
During this campaign Vitamin Angel partners have hosted 160 activities on nutrition-related awareness and action across the country, reaching over 1,00,000 people. These include awareness campaigns, screening films, and videos on nutritional needs and awareness, Poshan (nutrition) rallies, capacity-building sessions for pregnant women, ASHA workers and other stakeholders on prenatal care and malnutrition, administering Vitamin A and Albendazole supplements for children, community theatre and plays, mass nutrition oath, workshops on balanced diet and more. These activities have primarily focused on vulnerable communities with low awareness of nutritional security including pregnant women, women and children, ASHA workers/ICDS workers/Anganwadi workers, teachers, community workers, NGO staff, and other key stakeholders in urban and rural slums, tribal communities, schools, Panchayat/district/ State level government representatives and self-help groups.
The larger scope of the partnership will also include the launch of the Poshan Innovation Platform in January 2023 with the aim to combat undernutrition in the country. The initiative calls for ideas for innovations around Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) interventions from across the country, particularly from educational institutions, civil society networks, and businesses, with the potential to transform nutrition delivery services improving the nutritional status of mothers and under-five children. The Poshan Innovation Platform aims to develop continuous sandboxing of ideas, mentoring by experts, and seed funding by the private sector.
The Poshan Innovation Platform aims to leverage the new ecosystem of information, communications, and technology — and resulting agency among people — to fight undernutrition for quicker results. A phase-wise approach will be followed to assemble the Poshan Innovation Platform between September 2022 and December 2026. Various phases of the project will cover launching the platform and developing an operational plan, collaborating with government departments and introducing innovations in new geographies, and then scaling up successful collaborative innovations. The project also involves leveraging the network of education institutions like Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), and design institutions, university incubators, civil society networks, and businesses in India to nominate ideas and innovations, followed by a Poshan Innovation Challenge Summit with a jury of experts. The successful innovations will be deployed and scaled up in geographies to maximise impact.
Speaking about the partnership, Sunish Jauhari, President of Vitamin Angels India, said, “While the fifth National Family Health Survey (2019-2021) has indicated a slight improvement in undernutrition indicators, several other associated factors like anaemia and vitamin A deficiency in children continue to be major challenges, particularly affecting those from socio-economically marginalised groups who lack access to a micronutrient-rich diet. Our partnership with UNICEF India is a huge step to combat the issue of undernutrition in mothers and children. The launch of the Poshan Innovation Platform will allow new ideas with proof of concept to emerge, collaborate, scale, and grow. Our goal is to build nutritional equity in the country by building this innovation platform into a sustainable virtual property that continues to fuel and encourage innovations in the sector.”
Siddartha Shrestha, Chief Social and Behaviour Change Communication, UNICEF India, said, “This partnership with Vitamin Angels India for Poshan Maah 2022 and the Poshan Innovation Platform will help to scale up innovations, with potential for maximizing nutrition literacy to address undernutrition in India. This will be a collaborative platform, bringing in stakeholders from business, academia, innovation hubs, and civil society organisations towards transformative approaches to nutrition literacy.”