Renewal of MoU between Lady Irwin College & MoRD for ROSHNI-CWCSA

New Delhi, January 23: Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), and Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi, have renewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) here today. During the five-year term of MoU, MoRD will work with ROSHNI – Centre of Women Collectives led Social Action, to strengthen interventions for better results of food, nutrition, health and WASH (FNHW) for rural communities.

ROSHNI-CWCSA is supported by UNICEF India technically and financially. Currently, ROSHNI-CWCSA is serving as a technical support unit at national level to DAY-NRLM and is embedded in the Department of Development Communication and Extension, Lady Irwin College.

Dr Anupa Siddhu, Director of Lady Irwin College and Chairperson of ROSHNI-CWCSA stressed upon synergy between government and academia for women empowerment. “The Lady Irwin College and MoRD are on the same page to empower women collectives. Their true empowerment is becoming producer from consumer and giver from taker. Through our partnership we could enhance capacity building of community resource persons (CRP) for FNHW and gender interventions.”

Acknowledging the partnership with ROSHNI-CWCSA, Charanjit Singh, Additional Secretary, Rural Livelihoods, MoRD, stated that academia is vital to bring fresh perspective in on-ground interventions. We should appreciate and practice traditional knowledge like agri-nutri gardens for food safety and nutrition sufficiency. Such messages should be disseminated in crisp and effective manner.

Dr Sarita Anand, Lead, ROSHNI-CWCSA, in her presentation highlighted milestones of the previous five-year partnership with MoRD through consistent support of UNICEF.

Explaining the on-ground activities in communities, the FNHW CRPs, Shanti Baghel and Basanti Kashyap delved into their respective journey to integrate gender and equity interventions in families in Bastar, Chhattisgarh, that improved health, nutrition and sanitation aspects, particularly for women and adolescent girls. They shared that constant efforts in engaging men through Pariwar Chaupal meetings and mobilising women for VHSND have gradually increased access to health and nutrition services and entitlements in Bastar.

This partnership will strengthen nutrition, gender equity and livelihoods for women. The FNHW interventions through Pariwar Chaupal should be replicated in other states as well as integration of MIS into the system for attaining nutrition sufficiency, stated Smriti Sharan, Joint Secretary, Rural Livelihoods, MoRD.

Lauding the unmatched strength of women Self-Help Groups, Dr Lopamudra Tripathy, Head – Social Behavior Change Communication, UNICEF, drew attention to this ‘social capital’ to scale up FNHW and gender interventions through partnership with MoRD. Nudging social behavior requires reinforcement of key messages so that people are able to improve social practices, including gender integration; convergence; and system strengthening for institutional capacity of Community Based Organisations to scale up demand for health and nutrition services.

ROSHNI assists DAY-NRLM to improve food, nutrition, health, and WASH (FNHW) outcomes for 9.96 crore Self Help Group (SHG) members and their households across 656 districts in states. It envisions breaking the self-perpetuating cycle of malnutrition - illness - out-of-pocket expenditure for treatment-poverty through its savings and enterprise approach and layering of Food, Health, Nutrition and WASH interventions carried out regularly by 1,20,362 trained community resource persons in SHGs and their federations. The better health and nutrition help SHG members and their households to come out of abject poverty while exploring FNHW enterprise models for self-consumption and generating sustainable livelihoods.

This is also in tandem with DAY-NRLM’s Dashasutra (10 principles) strategy. DAY-NRLM is also MoRD’s nodal agency for implementation of the convergent action plan under the POSHAN Abhiyaan – conducted every year in September by the Ministry of Woman and Child Development. Other active participants also include Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Panchayati Raj. The four areas of convergence to improve health and nutrition status in rural communities are Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Day (VHSND), common platforms such as Anganwadi and promoting nutri-based livelihoods like agri-nutri gardens for women collectives.

ROSHNI-CWCSA had launched Swabhimaan, a collaborative initiative of DAY- NRLM and UNICEF India, in 2016 in five poorest DAY-NRLM resource blocks in four districts of three Indian states - Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. This initiative brought the much-needed undiluted focus on women’s nutrition and ensured the last mile delivery of FHNW interventions through women collectives.

ROSHNI-CWCSA aims to work with women collectives for social action on FHNW interventions in alignment with DAY-NRLM Dashasutra strategy and supporting implementation of convergent action plan under POSHAN Abhiyaan as well as with line departments to expand reach and visibility. ROSHNI-CWCSA will lead knowledge creation, capacity building for scale-up of convergent action plan for better on-ground FNHW outcomes and provide policy guidance to DAY-NRLM.