Childhood malnutrition in Nepal
Childhood malnutrition in Nepal can be a major problem in some remote districts where it is difficult to grow adequate food. According to UNICEF, 29% of Nepal's children are severely or moderately underweight.
A mothers group in the remote village of Lorpa, Jumla, has transformed itself from the inside out to tackle child malnutrition and community sanitation.
The Bishnu Mothers' Group had become complacent about meeting together and was virtually inactive. The members no longer felt there was any value in working together and were preoccupied with their own lives. The village became more and more filthy, health problems increased, and families visited traditional witch doctors to seek help.
When INF began its work in Lorpa, locals were skeptical. They didn't believe that any organisation could improve their situation. But INF’s community staff lived and worked among the villagers of Lorpa. The Community Nutrition Facilitator ran regular meetings, raising awareness. Through games and role-plays she was able to slowly, but effectively, demonstrate the value of working as a group.
After three months, some of the members of the original mothers group began meeting again. It quickly became clear that six children from families within the group were underweight and malnourished. The INF worker began nutrition classes and worked with the mothers to find locally based nutritious food. The group also began looking at community sanitation, health and hygiene issues.
Another three months on, the condition of all six children had improved. The mothers began to feel confident about recognising the signs of malnutrition, and in ensuring their children were adequately fed and healthy.
Today there is a common voice in the community as this mothers group brings positive change to the broader village. “We used to face lots of problems and diseases due to the dirtiness in the community,” says Deepa Buda. Now they are tackling the problem of malnutrition in Nepal by transforming their own community.
You can read more about INF's Community Development work HERE