Photo and text by Bimal Ken Shrestha
The excitement to revisit Kalikot after the reshuffled federal structure where I worked intensely for one year was immense. I left Kalikot 8 months ago where I worked as a District Coordinator, IMAM program. With a desperate desire to see the momentum of changes in last 8 months; supportive supervision and monitoring of MSNP activities along with facilitation of MSNP Orientation to DCC members was planned for Kalikot on 4 February 2018.
The aspiration of Khadachakra Municipality, Manma is very notable. Their commitment to advocate for more investment on nutrition for next fiscal year by the elected local government is a promise for tomorrows; a ripple effect felt during the orientation. The enthusiasm, motivation and the knowledge acquired through orientation is highly appreciated.
Field based onsite monitoring at Raskot Municipality afterwards was remarkable.
Despite several interventions from Government and Non-Government sectors to support nutrition specific and sensitive interventions for improving maternal and child nutrition, Palata and Raskot were among the most under nourished areas of the FY 2073/74. Deep rooted social stigma and taboos such as early child marriage, chaupadi (untauchability during menturational period), gender discrimination, untouchability affecting the nutritional status in the community were still rampant.
During my visit, several rounds of meetings were conducted at Municipal and ward level for effective MSNP interventions to reduce protein energy malnutrition amongst Golden 1000 days women and children. The necessity of nutrition friendly plans and policies; nutrition agenda in the school curriculum were highlighted during those meetings.
The importance of Nutrition register to record and maintain all activities pertaining to MSNP interventions were highlighted. These ground facts will support to develop nutrition profile for another fiscal year. The need of multi sectoral approach to reduce malnutrition in Karnali province got a clear picture to the existing malnutrition in Kalikot. The generous interest of the participants afterward to allocate surplus matching fund in nutrition sector for next fiscal year was rewarding.
Active participation of social mobilizer and Nutrition food security steering committee at municipal and ward level ensured that the incorporation of the MSNP intervention was effectively moving towards the right direction.
Despite many positive remarks, the participants were reluctant to the proposed reimbursement model for implementation of MSNP activities. Harek Bar Khana Char (four types of food everyday) based on food intake pattern of the people of Kalikot needed serious attention. Surplus vegetables along with locally available food sources other than rice based on Bhatmari ki Bhokmari (over consumption of rice or lack of food) Food Chart was shared. The discussion brought steer rejuvenation of the thoughts and gave clear insight to why the malnutrition trend was persistently high.
The proposed tree plantation by sixth day of the childbirth was well cheered by the committee to tackle the deforestation and mitigation strategy for climate change and adaptation ultimately supporting women drudgery.
With recent road access development in the village, there has been new horizons of hope. However, the chase for junk food against locally available fresh produce is never ending and the need of the nutrition friendly corners and areas remain dubious and unanswered.
Some of the foodstuff that can grow well in the barren mountains of Kalikot with proven high nutritive value to combat malnutrition namely Dragon Fruit and Moringa Oliefera were shared with a notion “Let food be thy ultimate medicine”.