Leaders from CARE India develop a Nutrition Gender Toolkit

CARE India has been working in Odisha in the Technical Assistance and Research for Indian Nutrition and Agriculture (TARINA) project. The TARINA project is mandated to develop a more nutritious food system for India, by providing technical assistance to make agriculture projects nutrition sensitive, promote policy reforms and develop leadership and capacity to institutionalize nutrition sensitive agriculture in India.

CARE is working with women Self Help Groups across 72 villages in Kalahandi and Kandhamal districts in Odisha, towards providing access to a more affordable nutritious diet for them and their families. Accordingly, seven interventions have been identified – kitchen gardens, pulses, poultry, goatery, dairy, drudgery reduction and postharvest management of nutritious crops. The project aims at bringing in perceptible changes in the behavior and practices of poor and marginalized women and their family members in terms of consumption and distribution of nutritious food, promoting awareness and adoption of improved practices leading to improved production (access, availability and affordability) and consumption of quality diets in households.

Impacts targeted through TARINA however will become sustainable only when behavior change is triggered, supported through discussions and decisions are taken by small and marginal women farmers and their households. Such a process is time consuming and requires support for changemakers as they navigate their way towards a more nutritious future for their families.

To do this, CARE India is drawing on its extensive experience across livelihood, health and education projects to develop a Nutrition Gender Toolkit with a set of 14 tools. The tools help in creating awareness of the current status quo and promote a healthy discussion in women Self Help Groups that highlights aspects of the patriarchal society, and seek to enhance appreciation by stakeholders of women’s role, contributions, and needs in promotion of nutritious food value chains. The tools help women question our belief systems and its impact on our nutrition needs – especially for those who are traditionally less empowered and are needy. Some of the tools are supported by colorful picture cards and other aids that develop curiosity and aid dialogue. The engagement process includes women and men in the household and community opinion makers and actors, taking their inputs into consideration and working towards changes in belief systems and food systems. The tools are developed, field tested, finalized and then shared with partners’ teams in a phased manner for implementation in Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

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