Gender Transformative Interventions for Nutrition

Engaging Men and Families for Gender Transformation


The Swabhimaan programme led by women collectives under the Chhattisgarh State Rural Livelihoods Mission (CG-SRLM) has been in place since 2017 in Bastar block of Bastar district. The programme aims to demonstrate and test the delivery of 18 essential nutrition interventions via women’s self-help groups (SHGs) and their federations under the government’s flagship poverty alleviation programme; to improve demand and use of essential maternal and adolescent nutrition services. The pilot is anchored under DAY-NRLM’s Social Inclusion and Social Development thematic wherein interventions on Food, Nutrition, Health, and WASH (FNHW) and gender have been initiated. Gender is seen as a cross-cutting theme across interventions. This pilot thus aims to enhance the gender responsiveness of Swabhimaan interventions, and to incorporate health and nutrition interventions in the state’s integrated gender strategy.

Despite women’s role in ensuring food security and nutrition at home, their access to services, information and diverse diets are impeded by gender inequalities. Further, key messaging for positive health and dietary behaviours often makes women primary targets without addressing familial power dynamics or the deep-seated patriarchy which undergirds women’s decision-making, thereby holding women responsible for improved nutrition outcomes and changing behaviours that are often outside of their control.

Combined findings from a rapid assessment we conducted with 100 husbands of pregnant women and mothers of children under two in Bastar, and data from Swabhimaan’s midline evaluation, showed that while

45 % men reported their wife consumed more than 6 types of food groups –only 19% PW and 20% MU2 have high DDS.
51% of men were aware of minimum of 4 antenatal checkups required during pregnancy –however 38% of men never accompanied their wife to any ANC.
32% of men believed using contraceptive methods is a woman’s responsibility; 31% men reported not using any contraceptives.
Further only 13% of men had interacted with Poshan Sakhis or nutrition mates - community resource persons who implement nutrition actions under Swabhimaan- 6 months preceding the assessment. This pilot was thus initiated to address these gendered nutrition outcomes and engage family members, particularly husbands and mothers-in-law as partners for initiating a gender transformative intervention.
Geographic scope

This strategy is being piloted in all four Cluster Level Federations (CLFs) in Bastar Block, Chhattisgarh under Swabhimaan, covering 
104 VOs. This includes Ghotiya CLF which is identified as a Model CLF, because of institutional capacities of the VOs (Village Organisations) and the availability of trained community resource persons (CRP) on gender as well as FNHW.


‘3X3X3’ strategy

Based on combined findings of baseline and midline surveys of Swabhimaan in Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, along with qualitative insights from formative research conducted in Bastar to identify gender impacts, and possibilities of engagement of men and boys, three nutri-specific and sensitive intervention areas impacted by gender were identified; i) women eating last and least, ii) early pregnancies iii) unwanted, too many and poorly spaced pregnancies. Three target groups will be engaged to address these areas: husbands, mothers-in-law and dais (local community midwives), reinforced through three existing platforms under CG-SRLM’s FNHW strategy i) Pariwar Chaupal meetings or monthly family meetings at VO level, ii) Maitri Baithaks or monthly women’s nutrition meetings at VO level and iii) Gram Sabhas or open forum assemblies organised by the village electorate at the Gram Panchayat level.

We posit that with proper handholding support, women collectives can engage these three stakeholders to create an enabling environment for improved women’s decision-making around the three identified intervention areas. This strategy is also aligned to CG-SRLM’s existing gender integration strategy. This strategy also engages Gender Point Persons (at SHG level) and a Gender Forum (at VO level) to address gender issues. These additional platforms can be leveraged to further re-emphasize and disseminate key messages on gender issues that impact women’s nutrition outcomes at the village-level.


Timeline for roll-out of 3 x 3 x 3 strategy
  • Sensitisation and triggering session of CLF on gender and nutrition
  • Sensitisation of gender Community Resource Persons (CRP)  on gendered impacts on nutrition
  •  Building capacities for to conduct microplanning
  • Co- creating of tools to address gendered nutrition
  • Co- facilitation of microplanning in 18 VOs under model CLF


The Following Steps were Undertaken to Facilitate Community-led Actions on Gender Issues Impacting Women’s Nutrition outcomes :

Step 1

Review of Swabhimaan tools and IEC materials to understand potential entry points for gender within Swabhimaan’s existing components

Step 2

Location of potential organizations, experts and strategies to support gender strengthening

Step 3

Mapping state government’s gender mainstreaming strategy and existing platforms/initiatives for gender transformative interventions

Step 4

Conducting formative research to understand the socio-cultural context, unpack gendered norms and practices and to gauge the readiness of family members, particularly men and mothers-in-law, to be partners in a gender transformative intervention.

Step 5

Triggering CLFs for gender transformative action on gendered nutrition areas identified in the formative report and conducted a rapid assessment on men’s perceptions towards these areas

Step 6

Sensitising existing community gender resource persons (GRPs) on gendered underpinnings of nutrition practices, building their capacities to conduct microplanning & co-creating gender micro-planning process and tools with GRPs.

Step 7

Conducting gender microplanning at VO level and consolidation of micro-plans at CLF level. 3 x 3 x3 strategy was developed based on findings to address identified issues and budget for actions to engage target groups.

Step 8

Integrating of activities to address nutrition and gender into the state Rural Livelihoods Mission’s Annual Programme Implementation Plan.

Step 9

Co-development of participatory learning and action (PLA) tools for a 12-meeting cycle with key actions to engage husbands, mothers-in-law and community midwives. These tools will be used to sensitise and train of existing community resource persons to conduct meetings with these target groups.

Step 10

Sensitisation of VO, CLF and FNHW community resource persons on how gender impacts nutrition

Step 11

Roll-out of trainings for CRPs (done in three rounds) to facilitate Pariwar Chaupal baithaks with men, mothers-in-law and dais, and engagement and mobilisation of these stakeholders for Maitri Baithak and Gram Sabha meetings.

Step 12

Building community ownership over the intervention; discussion of gendered nutrition issues at Gram Sabha meetings, approaching Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) members, and mobilising men to set up the Parivar Chaupal meetings platform. Further, VO & CLF to discuss gender issues, activate SAC, set up Parivar Chaupal & raise nutrition issues at gender forum.

Step 13

Integration of key messages in parallel programme activities such as quarterly social drives under the programme

Process Indicators Collected Through Monthly Progress Reports

Performance Indicators Frequency
Gender Microplan of VO (%) Annual
Training of Mangun Mit and Cluster Mit on gender PLA meetings Quarterly
No. of Mangun Mit and Cluster Mits trained (%) Quarterly
Gender PLA toolkit - module, e-tutorials, IEC One-time
Pariwaar Chaupal (Gender PLA) meetings held (%) Monthly
No. of Target group participated in Pariwaar chaupal meetings (%) Monthly
Orientation and sensitisation of PRI members conducted at gram sabha (%) Monthly
Home visits to Husbands/ MIL of at-risk PW and MU2 Family (%) Monthly
Gender forum at VO level (Y/N) (%) Monthly
Gender forum discussed gender for FNHW issues (%) Monthly

Outcomes Indicator (based on Swabhimaan programme RBM )

Pregnant Women
  • 1 % Below the age of eighteen who are pregnant
  • 2 % Using a modern family planning method (in previous delivery); before the current pregnancy
Mothers of Children Under Two
  • 1 % Using a modern family planning method
  • 2 % Women accepting of domestic violence