Enhancement of Nutritional Health Security through Home Gardens for Dalit Women

COUNTRY:  India
SOCIETY:  Deepam Trust
PROJECT:  Enhancement of Nutritional Health Security through Home Gardens for Dalit Women
PROJECT NO: 1023
ACWW GRANT: £3,420*

 The beneficiaries of this project will be 250 Dalit women and their families (around 2,150 people in total) who are in 25 deprived rural villages in Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu.

Deepam Trust’s field staff have carried out a study of the nutrition status of women, adolescent girls and children under five years of age in five of the target villages. Personal stories of food insecurity, malnutrition, and disease were shared, and the staff developed an action plan as a result of this study.

The beneficiaries will be trained in nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion, food safety, home gardening and sustainable cooking methods over two days, in groups of 50. The training will be carried out by resource people from the Tamil Nadu Government’s Horticulture and Agriculture Department and Health Department, supported by self-help group leaders and volunteers from Deepam Trust.

Seed kits and seedlings of species suitable for home gardening will be distributed to the beneficiaries, who will be encouraged to grow green vegetables and fruits for their families. The Trust’s field staff will make regular visits to the beneficiaries and their home gardens to offer advice and support.

Village-level awareness meetings on locally-available, inexpensive nutrition, sustainable cooking methods and the production of chemical-free foods, will be carried out twice a month in the 25 villages (600 meetings in all). Awareness of the availability of government-sponsored vitamin supplements, de-worming tablets etc. for children will also be spread at these meetings.

It is expected that the beneficiaries will have an improved diet and will be less dependent on local markets for their food than before. They will be able to build their household’s capacity to prepare inexpensive, nutritious food and, as the main caretakers of their home gardens, will be empowered as a result of this project.

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