Our takeaway from the previous quarter:
“We need to be conscious of the emerging needs in each of the villages for health, education, water and sanitation, electricity, and livelihood. We should continue to prevent and help manage malnutrition.”
The new model would redistribute and delegate the area villages to each responsible CNE. Each CNE would have a cluster catchment of 10 villages and would cater to a population range of 10,000-15,000. The CNEs would then go into these villages to conduct a survey to ascertain the exact number of severe and moderate cases of malnutrition. The survey would also identify essential health service needs in the communities, such as sanitary napkins.
Each CNE would act as a “Catalyst of Change” at the grassroots level through bringing institutions together and raising communities’ levels of education and awareness regarding health and nutrition. Each CNE would also act as a depot holder for affordable products and choices that help communities improve health care practices by adopting hygienic behaviors. Through this practice of offering affordable products, the communities well-being will improve, and in addition “provision of alternative and sustainable source of electricity,” would also be part of the CNE depots.
RMF India/RMNT, in collaboration with partner agencies, would help model this “Swasthya Sahelis” in leading the process of change. Each CNE would be an independent entity of her own cluster and may create village-wide cadres of young women to conduct/facilitate activities in their own villages. The CNE would be responsible for creating her own geographic clusters within the villages she is responsible for. This pilot project’s goal would be to cover 98 villages through the involvement of 10 CNEs.
Currently, there are only 4 CNEs on the team and 5 more will be hired for the 48 remaining villages. Each CNE would use a table for training which will have reporting formats, IEC/education/BCC materials and product/service details. They would also wear a uniform apron on top of their saree so that the communities can visually recognize the branding of the CNE as well as the depot for the village (which holds nutritional and hygienic goods).
Each CNE will distribute the following products:
This project empowers communities through health literacy and connects rural communities with the government health and nutrition services available. This project aims to prove that a holistic, decentralized, community-based approach to malnutrition eradication will have better health outcomes, be more inclusive for children under 5, and will be more cost-effective in the long-run than centralized approaches, especially for rural, marginalized tribal communities. Our team of 60 Community Nutrition Educators (CNEs) and 6 District Coordinators is covering enormous ground every week across 5 districts and 600 villages in Madhya Pradesh.
Rekha Mawi is a resident of the Barwani tribal district of Madhya Pradesh, India. At an early age, she married a daily wage earner named Anil. Rekha soon realized that her husband was an alcoholic, and his meager daily income coupled with his frequent, compulsive spending on alcohol was not enough to support the family. Rekha was especially concerned for the welfare of their two children.
On April 1, 2011, Rekha met Radha Chouhan, the District Coordinator of RMF India’s Barwani office. Rekha shared her plight with Radha, who recommended her case to RMF’s district management team. With management’s approval, Rekha was hired as a cook for RMF’s Barwani office. During her days as a cook, RMF project management learned that Rekha had studied up to the 12th standard, and noticed that she possessed strong interpersonal and communication skills. With these qualifications, Rekha was capable of serving as a Community Nutrition Educator (CNE). Subsequently, Rekha was given the new role of CNE, to promote health and nutrition in 10 villages in the district of Barwani. She received the required counselling training from RMF, and started conducting home visits to screen children for their malnutrition status and connecting households with service provision centers such as Anganwadi centers and/or Nutrition Rehabilitation Centers. Rekha soon started to recognize her own abilities, and so did RMF’s district team management. In addition to individual and community counseling, Rekha also referred several children to seek lifesaving treatment at NRCs.
The local community, including government workers on the frontline, also began to recognize Rekha’s contributions in fostering behavior change and improving the health of mothers and children. By that time, Rekha had become more confident in her abilities, and was very competent in community-centered communication and helping local people value and access available government services.
In February 2013, the local government appointed Rekha to serve as an ASHA (Auxiliary Social Health Activist) in Rajghat (one of the villages where she worked as an RMF CNE). She showed great commitment and passion in her new role.
As they say, fortune follows those who chase their dreams. In May 2015, based on her progressively more remarkable performance, the Department of Health promoted Rekha as an ASHA supervisor in the same catchment where she served as an ASHA worker. Today Rekha stands as a courageous, committed ASHA supervisor helping women and children live healthy lives. For the year 2015-2016, the state government of Madhya Pradesh awarded Rekha the “Best Cadre Award” for exemplary performance.
Today, Rekha acknowledges the difference RMF India made in her life by helping empower her to accomplish her dreams. Rekha states candidly and confidently, “RMF has helped change my life for a better.” RMF India takes this opportunity to wish her the very