MRC Nutrition Project

About the Project

MRC funded project: Integrated health, education and environmental intervention to optimise infant feeding practices through schools and Anganwadi networks in India

The World Bank identified under-prioritisation of nutrition and health education as a barrier to progress while the 2016-2030 global strategy emphasises the need to integrate multisector enablers that address education, gender, sanitation, water, agriculture and nutrition.

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India faces a triple burden of childhood malnutrition: 48% (61 million) under-five's are stunted, childhood obesity is on the rise, and most have a micronutrient deficiency.

The Government of India has been implementing key nutrition and behaviour change interventions through three cadres of frontline workers but barriers include outreach, variable levels of sanitation, social-inequity and the feasibility and effectiveness of localised integration.

This study proposes a Five-Phase participatory and inter-disciplinary study to explore the HEEE factors influencing feeding practices and nutrition. The aim is to develop a socio-culturally appropriate, tailored, integrated and interdisciplinary HEEE package aimed at the IFYC (6- 24 months) in rural India and test the acceptability of the intervention.

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To achieve this goal, we will engage with selected villages in the Banswara region and with stakeholders across all levels of the socio-ecological framework.

Our local partnership will identify, train and support local 'community champions' and later establish 'community education and innovation hubs' with participating schools but linked into existing systems.

The HEEE package will be tailored to the requirements of existing government initiatives and future funding applications will explore how the HEEE package can be scaled up to additional India states.

Team

Our collaborative approach includes an interdisciplinary team from UCL and expertise from; Save the Children- India, The Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi (IIT-Delhi) and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (JNU).

Additionally, we have identified four NGO partner institutions to provide contextual and programmatic advice along with members from the British Indian diaspora.

Research team

  • Dr Priti Parikh (UCL, Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering Department)
  • Prof. Marie Lall (UCL, Institute of Education)
  • Prof Monica Lakhanpaul (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health)
  • Dr Lorna Benton (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health)
  • Prof Virendra Kumar Vijay (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi)
  • Dr Rajib Dasgupta ((Jawaharlal Nehru)
  • Dr Hanimi Reddy (Save the Children, India)
  • Dr Rajesh Khanna (Save the Children, India)
  • Dr Logan Manikam (University College London)

Research partners

  • Mukul Madhav Foundation, EKAM Foundation, Foundation for Research in Community Health India, Society for Nutrition
  • Education & Health Action (SNEHA)