According to the 2020 Global Nutrition Report (GNR), overcoming deep inequities within food and health systems is central to ending malnutrition. The unjust systems and processes that engender these inequities must also be challenged in our progression towards creating a world free from malnutrition. Investing in nutrition and ending inequity are intertwined goals, and in order to overcome the global nutrition crisis equitably, we must direct resources and programmes towards those most affected by malnutrition.
The GNR highlights malnutrition as the leading cause of poor health and mortality globally, an epidemic which disproportionately affects vulnerable groups. This is why PHASE’s integrated approach working with vulnerable communities in Nepal forms a vital part of a global push to help build a zero-hunger generation.
The GNR sees the mainstreaming of nutrition within the global commitment to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a unique method to address malnutrition in its various forms.
PHASE Worldwide is unified with this goal, understanding the intimate link between health and nutrition, and works to effectively incorporate nutrition within our primary healthcare provision.
Our integrated programmes seek to address the causes of malnutrition in extremely remote areas, where limited crop diversification; low knowledge of childhood nutrition; limited access to agricultural inputs; a lack of irrigation and poor soil quality engender high levels of malnutrition.
In the district of Bajura, our activities include training mothers on Nutritional Best Practice, providing education on the 1,000-day window, exclusive breastfeeding, diet diversification, and the fortification of foods through the creation of super flour.
In this district, we will further train 250 mothers in poultry rearing and mushroom cultivation to increase the availability of nutritious foods for consumption. This programme works towards ensuring that that healthy and sustainably produced food is the most accessible, affordable and desirable choice for all; a central tenant of the GNR.
PHASE Worldwide are working towards UN Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger through our current UK Aid Direct programme in Mugu; improving access to safe, nutritious food all year round for 800 vulnerable families in Mugu whilst addressing the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant women, and older persons. Through improving climate-resilient agricultural practices, agricultural productivity, and production and income for small-scale food producers, PHASE is making nutritious food more accessible for the most vulnerable communities. In Mugu, 800 vulnerable female farmers have been trained in modern farming techniques and provided with materials such as drip irrigation sets and seeds to increase vegetable production and animal husbandry.
Naina, 39, of Dhaina village had no experience of growing vegetables before the project started but is now one of the lead farmers in the village. She says: “I am not worried about the cold and dry season as I know the right way to grow the vegetables. I am going to grow green leafy mustard, cauliflower and radish in the polytunnel.” In line with the GNR’s pro-equity agenda which focuses primarily on those most vulnerable, 3,600 vulnerable and marginalised individuals have taken part in PHASE’s health and nutrition education and awareness-raising activities in the Mugu District. This increased nutritional awareness is bolstered by the creation of a more favourable local environment among opinion leaders and the local government to support women and children’s nutritional outcomes.
PHASE has made much progress towards addressing inequalities within food systems and health systems in rural Nepal, increasing the year-round availability of healthy, nutritious food and incorporating nutrition into our integrated health and educational programmes. Good nutrition is a cornerstone of our primary healthcare provisions in Nepal and our contribution towards SDG 2: Zero Hunger.