Improved Maternal Health and Child Nutrition for Minorities in Bangladesh

Helvetas in collaboration with consortium partners supports improved nutrition governance for 280,000 pregnant and lactating women, children under 5 years and adolescent girls by providing holistic, nutrition-sensitive and nutrition specific livelihoods models to diversify diets and income for the most vulnerable.

  • Project Name
    Leadership to Ensure Adequate Nutrition - LEAN
  • Project Phase
    2018 to 2023
  • Funding
    This project is a European Commission project
  • Thematic focus
    Private Sector Development

In Bangladesh, the state of malnutrition among children, adolescents and women remains high. According to the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey of 2014, the prevalence of stunting and wasting among children under 5 years old is 36% and 14%. In the Chittagong Hill Tracts, levels of underweight and wasting are severe and the lack of a diversified diet has an impact on the health status of women and children, particularly for pregnant and lactating women.  The economic and social costs of malnutrition are therefore considerable and improving nutrition sensitive governance is critical.

LEAN focus on a life cycle approach targeting children, pregnant and lactating women and adolescent girls to shift attitudes and inform sustainable behavior change, whilst creating an enabling environment for improved nutrition governance, and strengthening food and markets systems across the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.

Local Service Provider-vegetables is working in her vegetables field
vermi compost exibition

A key component of the project is the formation of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms at District and Upazila level bringing together the private sector, civil society and public agencies for a collaborative approach to improved governance and delivery.  Improving diets in a holistic way HELVETAS focuses on addressing several value chains in the food systems and particularly strengthens alliances for nutrition sensitive, transparent and climate smart value chains applying the local service provider’s model. More than a thousand of trained local service providers act as a hinge between smallholder farmers, suppliers, buyers and public services agencies helping farmers enter and successfully play a role in the market. Most farmers grow vegetables for household consumption and there is a huge potential for growing higher value produce in the region. Public Private Partnerships are also established for enhanced interactions between the actors.

The project combines the skills and experience of a consortium of technical partners:  HELVETAS, United Purpose and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition as well as three local implementing partners, Jum Foundation, Caritas Bangladesh and the Integrated Development Foundation. The project is funded by the European Commission.