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21 Jul 23

Start Strong – 1 year of Impact

Improving access to maternal healthcare and reducing malnutrition for 1,000 women and their children in Bajura, Far West Nepal:  April 2022 – March 2025.

The Start Strong Project improves access to maternal healthcare, supporting families to grow more diverse crops, rear improved breed poultry and cultivate mushrooms, while educating local communities about the importance of nutrition, enables mothers in remote Rugin and Bichhaya to give their children a strong start in life.

We can now report back on the last 12 months. All the mothers selected for the Start Strong Project have shown a positive attitude towards the Project and by providing access to maternal health services and agricultural resources they really need; we are able to support them to give their children a strong start in life with better health and nutrition outcomes.

By supporting Female Community Health Volunteers and Traditional Healers to better identify childhood illness and malnutrition and have better knowledge of the Golden 1,000 Days – key stakeholders are also empowered to ensure that malnutrition and lack of access to maternal healthcare is no longer an everyday concern in their community.

  • Health Posts in Rugin and Bichhaya were supported with quality primary healthcare provision: 8,470 patient consultations (4,784 female and 3,686 male) were seen over Year 1.
  • We exceeded our targets, reaching 709 pregnant women, mothers and 833 children under 5.
  • 182 pregnant women received their first ANC visit from ANM and 130 their fourth ANC visit.
  • Increase in correct knowledge of ‘Safe Motherhood’ from 30% to 34.3%
  • New mothers practising exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months: 88.1%
  • Percentage of women using super flour ‘Sarbottam Pitho” as weaning food for their children: 61.2%
  • Increase in knowledge of Golden 1,000 Days ‘Sunaula Hazar Din’: 58.2% and practice 88.1%
  • At start of Y1, 426 children out of 607 surveyed had at least one status of malnutrition, with 30 being Severely Acute Malnourished and were provided with critical nutrition support.
  • By end of Y1, no cases of Severe Acute Malnutrition were reported, and only 21 cases of Moderate Acute Malnutrition were reported.
  • Cases of Global Acute Malnutrition at the end of Y1 were only 9.8%.
Agriculture Outcomes: High Value Foods and Dietary Diversity – Y1
  • At baseline, only 46.4 % of women could grow enough food to feed their families for 6 months a year. By the end of Y1 we exceeded our target of 48% to achieve 50.7%.
  • At baseline, only 82 of women interviewed (16.8%) were using polytunnels for vegetable production. By the end of Y1, we almost doubled the number to 75 extra women.
  • Household Dietary Diversity improved from 56.3% to 79.1%, Women Dietary Diversity improved from 25.1% to 44.8% and Children’s Dietary Diversity stayed static at 82% -84%.
  • Average annual income was increased to £77 from mostly poultry products due to the existing demand for eggs, meat and breeding chicks. Some income was also made from vegetables and mushrooms which mothers spend on family essentials, from soap to stationary for children.
  • 179 mothers were involved in the novel activity of mushroom cultivation for self-consumption.
Nutrition Outcomes: Improving nutrition knowledge and understanding of 128 Key Stakeholders – Y1
  • 202 Key stakeholders attended our meetings in Y1, exceeding our target.
  • Traditional Healers (TH) recorded very positive attitudes towards the important concepts of ‘Golden 1,000 Days’ and will receive training in Y2 to build on this positive attitude.
  • TH were trained on signposting and referral to Health Centres as part of their community role.
  • Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) scored highly on attitude (100%) and knowledge (92%) of ‘Golden 1,000 Days’

We are proud to report that we have been scored A’ by our FCDO partners – Mannion Daniels for our first year of the Start Strong Project – a great achievement despite the natural disasters in Bajura.

Working through our local trusted partner PHASE Nepal, we are so pleased to be able to share with you some of the highlights of our hard work together over the last year, none of which would have been possible without your support and the backing of UK Aid Match from the UK Government and the dedication and commitment of the PHASE Nepal staff and volunteers.

Together we are changing lives in Nepal. We look forward to reporting back to you soon for Y2 Q1!

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