Q: How many children are malnourished in your project, and what steps are being taken
to improve the situation ?
Child Development Project Officer (CDPO): There must be only 2-3 malnourished or severely malnourished children in every centre of my project; we don’t have many such children in villages anymore.
One of the major reasons of malnourishment is lack of family planning, and families having 4-5 children. In rural areas, the desire for a male child is also a reason people choose to have large families. Getting children married at an early age can lead to cases of malnourishment as well.
From this year, we have opened counselling centres to create awareness among people. To avoid crowding during these times, we have been going door-to-door for activities like vaccination and other activities.
Q: What challenges have you been facing during the pandemic when it comes to nutrition-related activities?
CDPO: We used to organise a Poshan Maah Fair (part of the Government of India's Poshan Abhiyaan to fight malnutrition) at the Block-level every year before the pandemic, where various games and activities were conducted to create awareness among people. This year we could not do any of that. All the nutrition-related activities are now being conducted by visiting families, individually.
Q. How is the ‘Apni Kyari - Apni Thali’ scheme being implemented?
CDPO: ‘Apni Kyari - Apni Thali’ scheme is about making green vegetables available for children at the Anganwadi Centre (as part of the scheme, gardens of high-nutrition source plants are cultivated by the centre’s workers). This scheme will be implemented at the centres where some spare land is available. Under the scheme, Anganwadi workers will grow seasonal vegetables, which will be given to the children who are coming to the centre.
This interview was conducted with a Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) in Bihar in Hindi on 28 October 2020, and has been translated.