To tackle the malaise of malnutrition among children of Maharashtra, a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Rajmata Jijau Mother-Child Health Nutrition Mission (RJMCHNM), Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) and Reliance Foundation (RF). This MoU, earlier signed in 2015, was renewed in the presence of Hon. Minister of Rural Development, Smt. Pankaja Munde and Sh. Jagannatha Kumar, CEO, Reliance Foundation. The endeavor strengthens the Government of India’s agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2 in the National Action Plan for Children 2016 that targets improved nutrition as a key outcome.
RF has been helping communities set up small kitchen or backyard gardens, known as Reliance Nutrition Gardens (RNGs). These are scientifically-developed, low cost, organic kitchen gardens that use a multi-tier cropping system to accommodate a variety of fruits and vegetables that helps improve health and nutritional parameters among farmer families across villages in India.
During the first phase of the collaboration, RNGs were established and promoted in eight districts of Maharashtra, namely Pune, Thane, Palghar, Yavatmal, Jalgaon, Parbhani, Osmanabad and Wardha. More than one lakh children are provided with fresh fruits and vegetables through 7300 nutrition gardens set up in Anganwadis. RF has capacitated more than 450 master trainers for nutrition gardens to help build and sustain this effort.
Speaking on this occasion, Smt. Munde said, “The encouraging results of the first phase has motivated the Government of Maharashtra to expand the program in eight new districts with RF as our knowledge partner. We want to ensure that every child in anganwadis gets access to fresh fruits and vegetables across the state.”
The eight districts to be covered in the current MoU are Beed, Jalna, Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Gondia, Solapur, Nandurbar and Chandrapur. More than 1000 master trainers will be capacitated in all 16 districts for supporting the development of 25000 nutrition gardens in the anganwadi premises.
Expressing his delight at the partnership, Sh. Jagannatha Kumar, CEO, Reliance Foundation said, “The concept of Reliance Nutrition Gardens has had a huge positive impact on communities associated with us. I am very proud that RF has partnered with the Government of Maharashtra to address the issue of malnutrition amongst children in Anganwadis, strengthening the Government of India’s agenda of nutrition in the National Action Plan for Children 2016. I am thankful to Smt. Pankaja Munde, for her vision for the state nutrition mission and Smt. Vinita Vaid Singal, Secretary, WCD for successfully steering the program”.