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Top CSR-funded nutrition programmes in India

On the last and final day of National Nutrition Month 2020, we are turning the spotlight on top CSR-funded nutrition programmes. Corporate social responsibility initiatives in the area of nutrition not only support the Indian government’s Poshan Abhiyaan but also align with the United Nations SDG 2: Zero Hunger.
Here are the largest and most effective CSR interventions by companies in India towards ending hunger and malnutrition.

Shubh Aarambh – Mondelez India

Mondelez India Foods Pvt. Ltd launched ‘Shubh Aarambh’ six years ago to address the development needs of young children and teens. The project enhanced the overall nutrition intake of families by developing over 110 community kitchen gardens and 800 individual kitchen gardens.
The CSR programme has a footprint in eight states, touching lives of about 100,000 beneficiaries including children, youth, mothers and teachers in and around the company’s manufacturing and cocoa operations in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
As part of creating a sustainable future, Shubh Aarambh was designed in partnership between the company and the partner NGOs Save the Children, Magic Bus and AFPRO. Keeping the needs of the children at the centre of the programme, Mondelez India works with parents and teachers to provide health and nutrition support at an early age, apart from physical and social development through sports-for-development, and livelihood skills to make teenagers more employable for the future.

Mission Against Malnutrition – JSW Group

There are several NGOs and Government initiated projects fighting malnutrition, but JSW’s Mission Against Malnutrition (MAM) CSR project blends action-research, evidence-based advocacy and administrative capabilities of bringing together multiple partners for a common cause: fighting child malnutrition among disadvantaged families. No wonder it’s among the top CSR-funded nutrition programmes in India.
After a series of consultations with Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) at Mysuru, other experts in the field, and importantly studying the ground situation thoroughly between September 2013 and June 2014, JSW Foundation (the CSR wing of the company) identified micronutrient deficiency in the diet of the enrolled undernourished children. Therefore, it was planned that an additional dose of micronutrients in small doses can be added in the children’s diet. The CSR team finally zeroed in on Spirulina fortified sugar (SFS) as a solution and developed a simple, cost-effective, easy to replicate and scale up the plan.
Spirulina is a natural food well known for its nutritional qualities worldwide. It was basically chosen because while it can provide several important micronutrients required by children’s healthy growth and development, it can also be easily cultivated and processed locally by the local communities.
Mission Against Malnutrition brought together the Department of Women & Child Development, Government of Karnataka, CSRs like JSW Foundation and Supraja Foundation, NGOs like Spirulina Foundation, Bhoruka Charitable Trust, Pranati, Charitable Trust For Integrated Development, reputed research institutes like CFTRI, Mysuru, IHMR-Bengaluru, Vijayanagara Institute of Medical Sciences (VIIMS)-Ballari, Department of Social Studies, VSK University and management agency like IID, Bengaluru on board.
With 30,716 malnourished children (between the age group of 6 months to 6 years) and another 15,000 anemic pregnant women, lactating mothers and adolescent girls being supplemented with Spirulina during a pilot Mission phase of three years, this was the single largest ‘mission’ against malnutrition conducted globally. A dramatic reduction in the levels of malnutrition was observed; up to 42% reduction in the number of malnourished children during 2014-16 and 45.3% reduction in 2016-17 trials.

ZEAL Global COVID-19 initiative

The CSR arm of Zeal Global, the Delhi-based air cargo, GSA airlines service provider worked with the AAP Government to distribute over 2000 educational and nutritional kits to kids in Delhi’s slums. Zeal Foundation identified vulnerable kids belonging to more than 50 Angagwadis in Rajinder Nagar area who have been harshly impacted during the lockdown and did not get nutritious food.
The foundation’s efforts are premised on the vision that every child, irrespective of his/her socio-economic conditions has full and equal rights to access proper educational and nutritional support. Under the coronavirus guidelines, the kids were given masks and sanitizers beforehand, following social distancing.

Project Streedhan – DSM India

CSR-funded nutrition programmes designed uniquely for women are fewer. Project Streedhan by DSM India is one of them. It is aimed at increasing awareness among urban Indian women to prioritise their health. The first phase of the campaign was launched in 2019 on the occasion of Dhanteras, creating awareness about iron-deficiency anaemia, and encouraged women to “invest in iron and not only gold” by consuming foods rich in iron.
The second phase, Sehat Ki Tijori, is creating awareness of the link between nutrition and immunity. It exhorts women to ensure that they are consuming immunity-building foods, investing in their health – the real wealth – thus helping ensure that they are protected against disease and infection. Through a digital film ‘Sehat Ki Tijori’, the campaign urges women to stock their vault of health with nutritious food, and to view it as a lifetime investment.

Healthy Kids Programme – Nestlé

Nestlé India is working towards improving the nutrition scenario in India with its Healthy Kids Programme. The CSR initiative focuses on raising nutrition, health and wellness awareness among school-going children. Launched in 2009 in village schools around Nestlé’s manufacturing facilities, it is aimed at raising awareness about good nutrition, healthy habits, cooking practices, good hygiene and promoting physical fitness.
The CSR programme completed a decade exactly a year ago. is conducted in partnership with 6 leading regional universities and content is developed jointly by nutrition experts from the Universities with Nestlé India nutritionists. Each student receives over 12 hours of nutrition training, and pre- and post-programme behavioural and knowledge tests are conducted to measure the effectiveness of learning and implementation.

Power of 5 – Amway India

Amway India launched the ‘POWER OF 5’ campaign to address the rising problem of malnutrition among Indian children. This is a community-based campaign targeted at mothers and caregivers of children under the age of 5 years. It aims to improve the nutritional knowledge and practices inclusive of complementary feeding, hygiene practices, growth monitoring, and dietary diversity.
The campaign further aims to identify and manage the malnourished children, and those with infections, by developing synergies among the service providers of associated departments (Integrated Child Development Scheme, Health and Sanitation) for improved services and timely referrals. The company also works towards sensitizing ASHA workers, ANM & Anganwadi workers to drive the behaviour change among the parents and communities.

Vrddhi CSR Connect

A&A Foundation in association with Halasuru Residents Welfare Association (HRWA) launched a Nutrition Programme for 35 ‘Pourakarmikas’ from Ward 90 in Bengaluru. With an aim to ensure their complete wellbeing, the Foundation under its CSR initiative “Vrddhi” is providing Enlightlife 365 Halerich 1 Enlightlife Superfood Metabolism and Immunity Booster Kit, free medical consultation and necessary blood tests thrice a year as part of the Nutrition Programme. A&A Foundation plans to carry out similar activities to all the wards in Bengaluru through its Vrddhi CSR connect programme.

Project Poshan – Hershey India

Hershey India started ‘Project Poshan’ so that more children could lead healthy, happy lives. The CSR division has partnered with United Way Mumbai to provide specially- designed nutritional food to school children in rural Maharashtra. Since 2016, they have also participated in an annual ‘Rise Against Hunger’ event during Good to Give Back Week, Hershey’s global week of service, which involves packing meals for orphan children and families facing hunger. Hershey employees volunteered in packing 10,000 meals each year with Rise Against Hunger, which included rice, lentils, dehydrated vegetables and a vitamin pack in one sachet.
These CSR-funded nutrition programmes are ending hunger and malnutrition, boosting all-important immunity in the pandemic and raising the nation’s health quotient.
This article is part of a series on National Nutrition Month 2020