Why Indian Women Must Eat With Their Families, And How It Can Change India

Rajasthan Nutrition Program -

End line report

The Rajasthan Nutrition Project (RNP) was a two-year long intensive engagement with the tribal communities of Rajasthan. The project that ended in December 2016 has yielded results in bringing positive changes in the lives of about 30,000 people, who have been reached out to through 8,000 primary touch points. The project was developed as a comprehensive approach by combining the i) nutritional specific interventions; ii) linkages to governance mechanisms and schemes and iii) savings for access to health services, with special focuson women.

The RNP has ensured that nutrition is on the agenda of the implementing partners and of the women involved. RNP believed that women’s empowerment through collectives is based on a global theory of change that addresses the underlying causes of poverty, health, nutrition and economic empowerment through their increased engagement in various development initiatives at the community level.One of the key ‘self-help’ components of the RNP was to enable, educate and mobilize families to grow locally available foods in their own places for consumption through ‘Poshanwadis’. Food security has been ensured by synergising linkages to government schemes, growing own food and saving food for difficult times to ensure that the family has nutritious food to eat at all times. Under RNP, ensuring linkages with services like Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Public Distribution System (PDS), and Mid-Day Meals and their monitoring by the women’s groups has ensured that these benefit-points deliver the entitlements due to the people.

The process of linking women to the banks was also facilitated in many cases, while linking them to SHGs enabled them to access money independent of the men in the households. Focusing on the children, the programme equipped the community with the information on right health and care practices. These include right breastfeeding and feeding practices for children beyond six months. The drivers of change in the project have been the Community Nutrition Advocates (CNAs) who were trained first and they, in turn, trained the SHG members. 

The following key messages that the project successfully delivered through CNAs are:

  • Women having 4 different colours of food in their plate.
  • Women growing at least one nutritious herb in their farm/courtyard.
  • Men and women eating at least one meal sitting together.
  • SHG leaders in dialogue with the service providers.
  • Every member linked with PDS getting food as per entitlement.


​Irrespective of some challenges faced in the project, such as an inadequate involvement of men and short project duration, the RNP presents a model easily replicable, scalable and sustainable since it is about an issue which has direct relevance to people’s lives, presents them with doable and effective ways to address their situation, builds on available community platforms.

Workshop on RNP

Rajasthan Nutrition Project workshop held

on Jaipur between January 19, 2017 to

20 January 17 with the FFHIT members. 

National Consultation Session

​Freedom from Hunger India Trust (FFHIT) and The Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security (CFNS) held a National Consultation session on Experiences and learning of `Rajasthan Nutrition Project’ adopting a multi-sectoral approach, to enhance Household Food Security in two tribal districts of Rajasthan on 31 May, 2017 at India International Centre, New Delhi.

The National Consultation was held with an objective of sharing the adopted strategy, experience and learning from the Rajasthan Nutrition  Project, that has shown encouraging results to reach out to the last family in remote locations. It provided an opportunity to discuss amongst the key stakeholders and nutrition players on Nutrition, inter-linkages for household food security with, and building linkages with health systems, education, ICDS, PDS and other delivery platforms. During this occasion Freedom from Hunger India Trust also released two publications..
1. Nutrition – The Way and the Destination – a Policy Brief 
2. Nutrition – the Way and the Destination – a Technical Resource Guide.
This consultation also offer an opportunity for the Community Nutrition Advocates – the Nutrition Change Agents to express their voices to the country’s nutrition policy community. The consultation  brought together policymakers, civil society organizations, practitioners, experts from field of Nutrition. 

Anticipated project outcomes include:

  • At least 8,000 women will have improved health and nutrition knowledge;
  • 8,000 women and their male household members will have increased gender awareness and have engaged in dialogue about a more gender-equitable household food distribution and management of household resources for food security;
  • 8,000 women will have improved livelihood, planning and financial literacy skills for better household nutrition; and
  • Members of at least 400 women’s SHGs will have increased access to nutrition-related support services through linkages and advocacy efforts.

In addition to the above outcomes, a cadre of community volunteers will have been trained to provide nutrition-related support services to their communities, paving the way for further community-wide benefits in the form of improved nutrition knowledge, gender awareness and increased access to services.

This project is being implemented since two-year-and-a-half years of which two years will be devoted to project implementation and six months will be devoted to the data collection, analysis and evaluation of this integrated nutrition and livelihood model through SHGs. Final results will be proactively disseminated among key stakeholders for potential replication. 

Rajasthan Nutrition Project 



This particular case study of two Annapurnas facilitators reflects how they have been empowered and what changes have been internalised by them. 


Mealtimes are becoming a

family affair in India’s

Desert State

The Methodology aims at improving service linkages and accessibility. It is designed to complement conventional mechanisms of accountability. 

Eat with your family,

ask for your rights,

rural Indian women told