Onset of behaviour change in communityPhoto credit:
Accepting Energy Dense Food (EDF) by the beneficiary household has not been an easy journey. Our Village Nutrition Volunteer (VNVs) are making relentless efforts in bringing about a behavior change in the villages despite the hardships. One such VNV is Khasimbi of Koppar gram panchayat, Devadurga taluk of Raichur district, who through her unfailing determination has brought about a change in a household which was prejudiced against EDF. In an incidence during the first round of distribution of EDF in her village, Jalambi, mother of 29 month old young child named Ranjanabhi expected something else instead of the EDF packet. Her expectations were to receive pulses, cereals, nuts and jaggery and she was definitely not pleased seeing the ready to cook food product. It is quite expected to face such a reaction owing to the financial status of the family. The household comprises of 8 members including Jalambi and her husband, 2 children, Jalambi’s father-in-law, mother-in-law and 2 sisters-in-law. Jalambi’s husband is the bread winner and is an unskilled manual day laborer and the family is in extreme poverty.
Our VNV was quite terrified by the way Jalambi spoke to her but did not lose hope and she gathered courage instantly and counselled her about the importance of EDF. She convinced her saying the EDF contains all the necessary pulses and cereals required to promote adequate growth of the child and read out the composition of the food product and how each ingredient helps in growth and development of her child. The importance for adequate weight and height for age was also explained. After a long conversation, Jalambi was quite convinced and agreed to feed her child with EDF; after which the VNV demonstrated the process of mixing the EDF and fed it to the mother and she acknowledged that it tastes good.
Although during the previous visit, Jalambi seemed convinced, the second time when our VNV visited post 10 days for second round of distribution, the situation was quite different. The child was suffering with diarrhea and on seeing the VNV, Jalambi started humiliating her making claim that it is because of the EDF the child is suffering from diarrhea. Jalambi also started demanding money for treating the child and made her feel guilty for giving the food packet. The VNV was taken aback and did not know what should be done in that situation. Although VNV knew that the reason for diarrhea was due to lack of hygiene and sanitation and not EDF, however at that point of time she could not face the fury of the family. Then she approached another VNV (Alia) working in the same village to seek her support in tackling the issue. Together they approached the household and gathered the entire family to counsel about the importance of hygiene and sanitation using the communication materials. They also explained the immediate treatment to be given during diarrhea is preparation of ORS. The demonstration of preparation of ORS at home was provided and the importance of hygiene during preparation was highlighted. The mother was convinced and started feeding the child with ORS as indicated. Next day VNV visited the house and was pleased to see that the child had less frequency of diarrhea. After seeing the improved status of the child, VNV again reiterated the importance of EDF and how it can be prepared in different forms and fed to the child.
Few days later (10 days) when the VNV paid her regular visit she was surprised and overwhelmed by the treatment given to her by the household members. She was delighted to hear that the child is regularly eating the EDF and family is also positive towards feeding the child. The child’s mother and other members of the family apologized for their previous behavior towards her. VNV Khasimbi felt satisfied that her relentless efforts paid off and uses the example of this household to convince others in the village.
Name of the Village: Khasimbi of Koppar gram panchayat,
Name of the Block: Devadurga taluk of Raichur district