Sima Pahari from Badikhel, Lalitpur gave birth to a child during the lockdown. Due to the fear of contracting the coronavirus, Pahari could not access essential health and nutrition services or monitor her child’s nutrition status.
Her husband, a daily wage worker, did not have any means of income during the lockdown. Due to poverty, her family was also unable to get nutritious food and hygiene supplies. The socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis has led to many vulnerable families like Pahari’s into deeper poverty, even as more children become malnourished.
To address the crisis, Social Changemakers and Innovators (SOCHAI), a youth-led non-profit organization, has been running a series of holistic Covid response programs in Lalitpur district. As part of this program, SOCHAI has been distributing nutrition-rich food and hygiene packages to marginalized pregnant and lactating mothers of Godavari Municipality and Lalitpur Metropolitan City.
The organization is not just supporting the vulnerable population with immediate relief, but also providing individual and group counseling on hygiene, nutrition and Covid-19 prevention to the affected population. SOCHAI’s counseling program includes their award winning innovation, ‘Nutribeads bracelet’ that is being distributed to the beneficiaries free of cost. Their awareness session is followed by the nutritional assessment of under-two children with the help of Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) tape and referral services (if necessary). Till date, over 100 families have benefitted and the organization aims to reach hundreds more.
SOCHAI had coordinated with both municipality and ward for need assessment prior to program implementation. SOCHAI’s program manager Neha Malla shared, “With the help of government, we have identified hundreds of such mothers and children who are unable to fulfill their nutrition need due to the pandemic. We aim to support all these mothers in the coming days by mobilizing young volunteers.”
Along with the immediate response, SOCHAI is also planning to implement long-term socio-economic rehabilitation program in two more districts. This program will economically empower the communities by enhancing their technical and vocational skills on agriculture and nutrition.