FNHW Expert Consultation

The Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), organised an online Expert Consultation on March 21st, 2024, with the help of UNICEF to gain insights from field experiences and learnings to enhance action on Food Nutrition Health and WASH (FNHW) interventions for more than 10 crore members of Self-Help Groups and their households across India.

Experts deliberated on opportunities to strengthen convergence mechanisms with line departments for effective last-mile service delivery; supportive role of SHGs in raising indicators for anaemia and malnutrition across the country; community engagement and actions on FNHW; promoting behaviour change in FNHW practices at household level; importance of integrating research and data-driven approaches to contribute to long-term planning and sustainable strategies for FNHW program; and highlighted opportunities for livelihood enhancement and income generation for women collectives and its federations.

The consultation culminated with a thought that DAY-NRLM’s SHG federations could act as social capital to contribute to FNHW programme through linkages with schemes and services as well as promoting behaviour change in rural communities.

'Speakers' Quotes from FNHW Expert Consultation'

The SHG ecosystem can provide strong support for FNHW interventions by generating awareness of behavioural change and making information on schemes available to the last mile. 

Mr. Charanjit Singh, Additional Secretary – Rural Livelihoods, M/oRD

FNHW cadres have played a significant role in raising awareness about anaemia, vaccinations, and health literacy through community initiative. We aim to have far-reaching success by means of FNHW programme and work towards having a healthy nation.

Ms. Smriti Sharan, Joint Secretary – Rural Livelihoods, M/oRD

The partnership is valuable for developing a convergence and system-strengthening roadmap to facilitate effective collaboration and last-mile service delivery, enhancing the well-being of SHG women for collective prosperity.

Ms. Sylvie Chamois, Chief - Nutrition Section, UNICEF (India)

Let's examine the nutritional status of women within SHGs. Discussions and counselling with women collectives and frontline health workers on FNHW in isolation doesn't work; it needs to be integrated.

Dr. Richa Pandey, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF (India)

SHGs have important role to play in ‘Anaemia Mukt Bharat’ and nutrition programmes for line listing and follow-up with anaemic individuals; directly observe therapy to ensure compliance; support to ASHAs & AWWs.

Dr. Kapil Yadav, Professor, Centre for Community Medicine (CCM), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi

We must continually have a mechanism of sustained investment in strengthening SHGs, capacitating them so they can act as community champions in uptake of services; co-ordinate with stakeholders like PRI and improve reach of rural communities.

Dr. Sebanti Ghosh, Regional Senior Technical Advisor -Nutrition, South Asia with Alive & Thrive FHI Solutions

A strategic road map is required to build capacities of SHGs. The leadership skills of women collectives can be used so that they can deliver health-related messages in communities.

Ms. Mini Varghese, Country Director, Nutrition International office in India

Seed production could be an enterprise, for example, promoting diet diversity. Need to turn convergence into partnerships to promote knowledge transfer, resources to ensure quality impact – FNHW programme design should target the last mile beneficiary considering that rural communities are very much dependent on services.

 Mr. Sibabrata Choudhury, CEO, Living Farms

Technological aspects, proper raw material supply, branding in the market (in order for them to have the chance to set pricing for premium quality goods), and pricing policy are the areas to be revisited alongside product innovations/ diversification, quality certifications/ food safety measures.

Ms. Vanitha Kommu, Consultant, World Bank

Include equity in programme design to make it participatory. SHG federations have created social capital that can be leveraged with the help of close discussions on health through stories, narratives etc.

Mr. Raj Kumar Gope, Team Lead, EKJUT

Women-led SHGs have taken up initiatives to establish grey water management ponds with the financial incentives in several states. SHGs should be encouraged to take up such initiatives instead of going for open tendering.

Mr. Anand Sekhar, Additional Mission Director, NITI Aayog, Government of India

The deep understanding of community needs and dynamics of SHGs make them invaluable partners in program planning and implementation. Women collectives play a crucial role in building capacity of community members, especially women.

Dr. N.V. Madhuri, Head, Centre for Gender Studies and Development, National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR)

Evidence generation is critical in scaling up FNHW interventions led by women collectives. Integrating research and data-driven approaches can contribute to long-term planning and sustainable strategies for FNHW interventions.

Dr. Niranjan Saggurti, Director, Population Council’s office in India