Apart from being a SHG member, Anita is a very active lady of the village, she worked as volunteer for SHGs and formed 7 SHGs in Amlipada village. It was due her own interest and willingness to bring about a change in the Community and lead to a positive health impact among women, children and adolescents that she volunteered to work in the Rajasthan Nutrition project.
Anita Damor, belongs to village Amlipara, gram panchayat Timeda Bada, Kushalgarh block, Banswara (Rajasthan). She has completed her secondary education and before being identified as an Annapurna facilitator, Anita like others was SHG member and a house keeper.
Anita mentioned “Initially I wasn’t able to link SHG members with various services related to nutrition and health, also I wasn’t aware of information related to nutrition and health. My role was restricted to formation of SHGs and strengthening them, by being identified as an Annapurna facilitator I have understood the issues, information related to various aspects of health and nutrition. “
Annapurna facilitators will act as health activist in the community who will create awareness on health, nutrition and its social determinants among the CNAs/ Annapurnas and mobilize the community towards healthy behaviours and increased utilization and accountability of the existing health services.
Both of them mentioned that being an Annapurna and undertaking the training has brought a lot of changes among them. Given below are major changes that were reported by them:
1.‘’Through this training we have developed a better understanding regarding nutrition. Earlier we didn’t know how nutritious food can help us and help our bodies to be healthy at the same time fight against undernourishment.”
2.Anita said that ‘’I observed through my various interactions with community women that women eat less nutritious food than men and they eat at last. Through the training inputs given and health education session now I know what are the nutritious food available locally, what to eat when.”
3.“Earlier we were not able to generate dialogue with Annapurnas/CNAs, now through Adult learning principle techniques our interactions our more participatory and we learn and understand by drawing on their experiences.”
4.Basuda mentioned “this training has helped me learn the importance of nutrition in our daily lives, I not only disseminate my knowledge among Annapurnas but also among my family members. Now, all of us eat together, we eat nutritious food like green vegetables, sprouts, keep our surrounding clean.”
5.Anita said that many families have incorporated the learnings and changed their earlier habits like know the know importance of using iron utensils, washing of rice and pulses only once, they don’t waste water, water used for washing utensils is used to water the kitchen garden.
6.“Major changes noticed in the community earlier they using goat milk to feed the new born child, now practice of exclusive breastfeeding has been noticed.”
7.“The three day training helped us specifically to understand the nuances regarding gender issues, it has been witnessed that after we have conducted the training among the SHG members, all of they eat together and eat the same amount of food. There is no discrimination regarding household food distribution.”
8.Women have started going to the ICDS center regularly for immunizations. In some places where the ICDS was not open, Annapurna facilitator among with the SHG members, Annapurnas have worked together to reopen the center.
9.“As Annapurna facilitators we have been able to work as local monitoring force within the community as we ensure that members are not cheated in terms of services being available to them. For instance – it was reported that PDS outlet were not providing the ration on time and the members were misled, As Annapurna facilitator we started to accompany the members to the PDS centers so that they are not cheated , we keep check on what is being entered in the register & make sure that the quality and quantity is not compromised.”
Overall , there has been a consciousness raising among the Annapurna facilitator which in turn has percolated down among the Annapurna and SHG members who have become more aware regarding their rights as well as there has been a behavior change among them. Annapurna facilitator know the importance of indigenous food, working to ensure linkages and bringing about change in the community.
Basuda Katara, belongs to village Amliyapara, gram panchayat Tandawarla, Block Sajjangarh, Banswara (Rajasthan) and completed his graduation. He has been working with VAAGDHARA since 2010. Apart from being a graduate, he also participated certificate course of 3 months on Microfinance conducted by CMF (Center for Microfinance).
Basuda elaborated “Although I worked as a trainer earlier, I didn’t have knowledge on Nutrition and Nutritious food items. Before this training, I was only forming SHGs and strengthening them and identifying Annapurnas on the basis of criteria given to me. My focus was on regular activities of SHGs like regular meeting, saving, etc. I feel SHGs will help to empower women as well as improve their economic conditions.”
He joined as Annapurna Facilitator with his own interest because he felt women and children of his community are underweight and becoming undernourished. He was of the view that the platform of SHG is a sustainable medium to improve Nutrition and tackle undernutrition. He was selected on interview basis and being a part of the same community he could relate to the members as well as their problems.
Freedom from Hunger India Trust ongoing project titled ‘’Empowering poor, marginalized women in Rajasthan for improved, gender-equitable household nutrition’’ has identified Vaagdhara for creating a cadre of 1200 Annapurna in Banswara district in namely two blocks i.e. Kushalgarh and Sajjangarh, so that they can create an environment conducive for realization of nutrition and food security.
Vaagdhara is one of the two implementing partners for this particular project, wherein with technical assistance from India trust, has built the capacities of 1200 Annapurnas also known as Community Nutrition Advocates. In total 8 Annapurna facilitator has been chosen based on their interest and calibre to identify and build the capacities of CNAs to bring about positive impact related to health and nutrition conditions of the community.
This particular case study of two Annapurnas facilitator, reflects how they have been empowered and what changes have been internalised by them. The Annapurnas facilitator are working in the community to ensure Nutrition Security by providing the critical link between the SHG and nutrition security, conducting health and Nutrition Education and building capacities of Annapurnas/CNAs.