Adolescent girls as “Pustidoot” making the difference

July 19th, 2019 |

CINI has been implementing “Strengthening Adolescent Nutrition Interventions through existing schemes and programmes in four Nutrition Priority Districts of West Bengal” with support from  UNICEF in 4 districts of West Bengal viz. Purulia, Murshidabad, Malda and Birbhum to improve the nutrition and health condition of adolescents leading to their overall empowerment since November 2018. A number of good initiatives have been adopted by the adolescent girls in their areas with direct or indirect support from local Anagan Wadi centers (AWC), panchayat, etc. which are giving positive outcome now. Few of adolescents have been recognised as Nutrition Ambassador or “Pustidoot”, who are vocal and know their rights and entitlements regarding health and nutrition. Qualities of a pustidoot include having the right BMI score, taking IFA regularly, being a good motivator, having proper food and hygiene habits and being a good communicator along with the ability to conduct sessions among her peers on adolescent and nutrition issues. The role of “Pustidoot” is to identify malnourished girls through BMI calculation at the service delivery points, convince their peers to take IFA regularly and attend relevant forums to raise their demands and present the needs of adolescents. Under their leadership, the adolescent girls prepared Nutrigardens (kitchen garden) either in the AWC premises or at home. The Kitchen Garden initiative was conceptualised by the adolescent groups and was shared with all the concerned. This practice is now accepted as a good practice to grow vegetables without using chemicals and thus increase nutrition awareness at the community level. This “Nutrigarden” initiative has become very popular in the field and more adolescent girls are now stepping forward to initiate “Nutrigarden” in their locality.